With the reduction of Government services, in particular the Aboriginal Affairs office closure in Wagga Wagga, concerned community members saw the need for a regional governance structure to coordinate the provision of services across the Riverina Murray region. While RMRA has been operating since 2015, it was formally launched in 2016 as a regional mechanism through which Riverina Murray communities can collectively identify priority issues, and engage with government and key service delivery stakeholders to develop targeted service responses and solutions, and directly influence how those services are delivered.
The establishment of RMRA also provides an opportunity for Riverina Murray communities to engage with, and benefit from, the NSW Government’s OCHRE Plan (Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment) which provides a policy framework for advancing the capacity of NSW Aboriginal communities to participate in local decision making focused on improving education, employment, service delivery and accountability outcomes.
What is OCHRE?
OCHRE is the community-focused plan for Aboriginal affairs in NSW.
In 2012 and 2013 some 2,700 Aboriginal people in NSW stated that Aboriginal language and cultures, education and employment and accountability are important priorities for Aboriginal communities. The NSW Government responded with OCHRE (Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment). OCHRE recognises the importance of healing, and commits the NSW Government to ongoing dialogue with communities to progress healing. OCHRE supports:
- Connected Communities – where schools work in partnership with Aboriginal leaders in the local community to improve education outcomes for young Aboriginal people
- Opportunity Hubs – which provide young Aboriginal people with clear pathways and incentives to stay at school and transition into employment, training or further education
- Industry-Based Agreements – partnerships with peak industry bodies to support Aboriginal employment and enterprise
- Language and Culture Nests – to revitalise and maintain languages as an integral part of culture and identity
- Local Decision Making – where Aboriginal communities are given a progressively bigger say in what services are delivered in their communities, and how they are delivered
- An Aboriginal Economic Prosperity Framework – that drives the long-term and sustainable economic prosperity of Aboriginal people and their communities across NSW
- A Deputy Ombudsman (Aboriginal Programs) – to provide independent oversight over Aboriginal programs
OCHRE commits the NSW Government to a different way of working with, and in support of, Aboriginal communities by building strong working partnerships that have at their heart respect for local Aboriginal culture, leadership and decision making.
For information on all OCHRE initiatives and updates click here
RMRA is not an incorporated body. It is comprised of representatives of each of the Community Working Parties (CWPs) from member communities. Current RMRA member communities are:
- Cummeragunja (non-active member)
- Narrandera (non-active member)
- Wagga Wagga