PILBARA ABORIGINAL VOICE
'together we are stronger'
In order to impact positive change, Traditional Owners gathered at the 4th Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River in 2017 resolved to establish a reference group which could interface with all levels of government at a regional-level. The intention of this unified group was to provide a strong community voice that would influence policy reforms and advise relevant political decision-makers on issues affecting Pilbara Aboriginal people. The group’s formation is a unique demonstration of the wider Pilbara Aboriginal community acknowledging that the status quo was inadequate by taking their own initiative, so that positive changes can be made. As a result, the attendees at the 2017 Yule River meeting elected what has now become the “Pilbara Aboriginal Voice (Kakurrka Muri)”, also known as ‘PAV’.
Members of PAV comprise recognised community leaders who were nominated by the Pilbara Aboriginal community present at the meeting, including many Pilbara Elders. PAV’s structure is unique and transformative, representing a union of language groups, working together to call on government to improve outcomes for Pilbara Aboriginal people. It is this make-up which gives PAV a collective – and believed to be unprecedented – cultural authority, endorsed by the community to act on their behalf.
It is PAV’s intention to consult, collaborate, co-design and co-create effective, culturally appropriate solutions to the benefit of Pilbara Aboriginal people; the results of which will, no doubt, also translate into cost-savings and increased performance indicators for government too. The key ideological shift with this approach, however, is that Pilbara Aboriginal people are stepping up to drive change in the region, rather than waiting and reacting to any additional imposition of inappropriate and/or under-performing policies and practices.
To work towards its objectives, PAV started meeting in April 2018. During its initial meetings, PAV has determined its purpose is to: establish itself as the “go-to” Pilbara Aboriginal regional authority; influence and negotiate policy with government to address key issues, funding and resource needs as identified; lobby the government for much-needed regional funding; and, review government reports, and call out deficiencies in achievements to benefit Pilbara Aboriginal people. PAV’s role is not to address native title matters – this work remains the responsibility of the relevant Prescribed Bodies Corporate, legal advisors and land councils.
To facilitate its approach, PAV has created several sub-committees. Each sub-committee focuses on a specific area of concern and set of priority issues. These include: Health, Education, Justice and Community Safety, Child Protection, Employment, Culture and Environment, and Regional Development and Housing. These sub-committees are responsible for progressing PAV’s key issues and priorities outside of its regular meetings, providing timely updates that are communicated back to the wider group. Each sub-committee is authorised to meet with other relevant stakeholders to further PAV’s agenda and affect meaningful change for Pilbara Aboriginal people. They draw on the vast expertise provided by the invaluable community Elders who sit on the group, consulting with them on relevant matters as they arise, and facilitating their involvement in meetings with external parties.
Further, the fact that PAV members participate on this group on a volunteer basis underscores their resolve to ensure its success; their commitment is highly encouraging and admirable. PAV represents a proactive and positive voice for Pilbara Aboriginal people.
Why Pilbara Aboriginal Voice (Kakurrka Muri)?
Given its origin and intentions, elected members collectively chose the name “Pilbara Aboriginal Voice (Kakurrka Muri)” as it reflects:
the represented region – the Pilbara;
the key stakeholders involved – Aboriginal people;
the group’s role in influencing government policy – their “Voice”; and,
the Kariyarra name for Yule River – to acknowledge the local Traditional Owners of where the group was formed.
WHAT WE DO
Generally, the purpose of the PAV is to:
be the go-to Pilbara Aboriginal regional authority;
review government policies and reports and call out deficiencies in achievements benefiting Pilbara Aboriginal people;
influence and negotiate policy reforms with all levels of government to address Pilbara Aboriginal people’s needs;
address key issues, funding and resource needs as identified; and,
lobby relevant government agencies for much-needed regional funding.
To facilitate its approach, PAV has identified several sub-committees – each focusing on a specific area of concern and set of priority issues – made up of suitably knowledgeable members. PAV's sub-committees will be responsible for advancing the group's agenda outside of its regular meetings. Each sub-committee is expected to draw from the recognised cultural authority and vast expertise provided by the invaluable community Elders comprising the overarching “Circle of Elders”; consulting with them on pertinent matters as they arise.
PAV's current sub-committees are focusing on the following priority areas: Culture and Environment; Health; Child Protection; Education; Employment; Community Safety and Justice; and, Regional Development and Housing.
TERMS OF REFERENCE
The Pilbara Aboriginal Voice (Kakurrka Muri) will:
Demonstrate unity and empower Pilbara Aboriginal people to address community-wide issues impacting them.
Focus on closing service gaps in the Pilbara and improving outcomes for Aboriginal people across the region.
Evaluate the effectiveness of existing government policies and programs.
Consult and provide input to policy reforms with all levels of government for the advancement of Pilbara Aboriginal people.
Act as a regional advocate to influence the government for additional and better services to the Pilbara.
Maintain a transparent and open dialogue with government agencies, other similarly aligned organisations and groups, and the wider Pilbara Aboriginal community.
Have a shared responsibility amongst its members, who will treat each other as equals and with respect.
Meet every two months to set and review targets and celebrate successful outcomes.
The Annual On-Country Bush Meeting at Yule River is to be the main forum where members provide updates and obtain issues from the community; with pertinent information also to be disseminated via newsletters and other appropriate communication measures as required;
All members represent Pilbara Aboriginal people and their communities and not any other specific Aboriginal corporations or trusts or businesses;
All members must respect the recognised cultural authority of the Pilbara and all matters related to culture must be delegated to the appropriate cultural authority;
All members commit to consult and engage with their communities about matters discussed (or to be discussed) at meetings;
All members must declare any real or perceived conflicts of interests and these conflicts must be recorded on a register; and,
Individual members must not engage in side meetings without prior approval of the collective group.
“Leading our people on a path to change.”
- PAV's Vision Statement
CONTACT PILBARA ABORIGINAL VOICE (KAKURRKA MURI)
C/- Yamatji Marlpa Aboriginal Corporation
PO Box 3072, 249 Hay St,
EAST PERTH WA 6892
08 9268 7000