What is being touted as a landmark agreement has been signed between Aboriginal people in the Three Rivers region of New South Wales and the state’s government.
The Three Rivers Local Decision Making Accord affects 12 communities stretching from Lithgow in the east to Nyngan in the West.
It allows for shared decision-making by the Aboriginal Three Rivers Regional Assembly and the NSW government.
Assembly chairman Rod Towney said it was a major step forward for Aboriginal people in the region.
“This is the first time we as Aboriginal people have been invited to the table to negotiate with government on an even footing about how services are delivered,” Mr Towney said.
“This marks huge progress and a solid base from which the assembly and government can implement the commitments we have negotiated.”
NSW Head of Aboriginal Affairs Jason Ardler said it was a pathway for Aboriginal communities to improve capacity to govern.
“It is building capacity and promoting genuine leadership in Aboriginal communities,” he said.
“It supports local leaders to build on existing strengths and work with their communities to drive innovation and change, grasp opportunities, and show them an alternate future.”
Priority areas include housing, education, health and economic development.
NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Sarah Mitchell visited Dubbo on Monday to sign the agreement, which she said was an important milestone.