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Closing the Gap – It’s time to tell our story our way

Western Plains App

Angie White

07 May 2024, 7:40 AM

Closing the Gap – It’s time to tell our story our way

The Aboriginal Data Sovereignty team will be visiting local towns in the region in the coming week to talk about how aboriginal communities could exercise sovereignty over their data through initiatives developing under Priority Reform 4 of Closing the Gap in NSW. 


Depending on the success of the workshops the ultimate goal for this priority reform would find Aboriginal Communities with improved access to and ownership and control of all forms of Aboriginal data. 

According to the team this is key to funding transparency, government accountability, cultural preservation, and the activation of communities’ own priorities.

Workshops will be held in Nyngan on Wednesday 8 May 10am - 2.00pm at the Youth and Community Centre, before the team heads to Dubbo on 9 May and Wilcannia 14 May, having visited Walgett and Lightning Ridge last week. 


“We know the why, and now we need our communities to tell us how.”  

“Aboriginal Data Governance is essentially for re-writing the narratives that have been told about us. It can also be a tool for empowerment, shared decision making, community-led solutions and accountability.” 

Aboriginal Data Governance refers to the ways in which Aboriginal people can exercise ownership and control over Aboriginal-specific information, for example, how it is collected, interpreted, accessed, and stored.


The workshop will offer an overview of what last year’s community workshops brought forth for Aboriginal Data Governance, and then talk through what it could look like for communities to develop and implement their own Aboriginal Data Governance, such as what resources and reforms may be needed to support this in NSW. 


According to the team, “Aboriginal data can include our Lore, knowledges, stories, customs, art and ways of life.” 


“It can include any information or knowledge which is about and may affect Aboriginal peoples both collectively and individually.”


The input will be collected either via audio recordings, note-taking or expression of views on butcher’s paper. 


On 27 July 2020, the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the National Agreement) came into effect upon signature of First Ministers of all Australian Governments, the Lead Convenor of the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations (the Coalition of Peaks) and the President of the Australia Local government Association (ALGA).  


According to the agreement, “Closing the Gap acknowledges the ongoing strength and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in sustaining the world’s oldest living cultures.” 


“Closing the Gap is underpinned by the belief that when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a genuine say in the design and delivery of policies, programs and services that affect them, better life outcomes are achieved. It also recognises that structural change in the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people is needed to close the gap.” 


Please reach out to [email protected] for more information.