Extending engagement to regional areas
The principles for good engagement and consultation are universal. A more considered approach to including the voices of people living in regional areas and to conducting engagement activities in regional areas (including rural, peri-rural and remote communities) is important.
The NDIA Rural and Remote Strategy
The NDIA Rural and Remote Strategy (PDF 1MB) draws upon the existing strengths and features of rural and remote communities, along with engaging in the ‘proper way’ with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The strategy focuses on enabling quality engagement, service delivery and leadership to ensure the successful delivery of the NDIS in rural and remote communities and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia. The strategy has useful information that can also assist with engaging people in regional and remote areas for State and local government.
Rural town and district communities
When engaging with these communities consider the following:
- the impacts of changing populations
- the impacts of being a part of a minority group and the lack of anonymity, belonging, and access to supports this can generate (including for those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, people who identify from a LGBTIQ community, the elderly and those with disability)
- the layered influences of being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, connection to Country, the impacts of many years of disenfranchisement and the direct and indirect prejudice and racism that exists within Australian society
- recognition of the high levels of domestic violence and suicide that are often hidden
- the impacts of social isolation, poor communication, and financial and psychological difficulties associated with drought, flood and fire
- the impacts of distance from and fragmentation of key amenities and services (including education, emergency, health and mental health services, and social opportunities)
- and conversely the hopes, dreams and opportunities that regional and remote communities can offer and the strong sense of community that can exist in many communities.
When engaging with these communities consider the following.
- Research the community you are visiting or engaging with, find out the Aboriginal Nation, the history and cultural information.
- It is important to build strong relationships and work with community when engaging and consulting with remote communities.
- Find out who the key people to speak with are and invite community leaders, elders or representatives and work in partnership and collaborate.
- Connecting with the local Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation is a good starting point.
- Provide information in creative and culturally inclusive ways (written, spoken, electronic, printed or other creative media).
- Develop multilingual and multimedia information strategies and consider using pre-established Aboriginal and community radio stations, websites, press and other media use networks and consult with community organisations who can link you to communities and support engagement.
- Recognise and be respectful of cultural business that may impact your consultation.
- Understand the challenges of travel, communication, isolation and connection, overlaying the issues that exist for towns and district communities.
- Consider if interpreting and translation services are required when engaging with remote communities. Refer to the South Australian Aboriginal Languages Interpreters and Translators Guide (Attorney-General's Department).
- The methods of engagement outlined in this toolkit need to be considered and where applicable, people in regional South Australia actively included or separate engagement activities undertaken.
- Online Community Engagement toolkit for rural, remote and Indigenous Councils (Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government)
- Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families and Children toolkit (Emerging Minds).