As we launch episode one of the Your Community, Country and Council (YCCC) podcast, we embark upon an exploration of engagement with Local Government Authorities (LGAs) by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.
While the initial and primary goal of the podcast series was to encourage Aboriginal candidacy in the forthcoming Victorian local government elections, the scope was extended to encompass direct community engagement with local government.
Such engagement has proven to be quite successful in a number of areas around Victoria, with local governments introducing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory committees.
In the first of a series of 12 podcasts, host Charles Pakana opens the way by speaking firstly to the Chief Executive Officer of the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA), Kathryn Arndt.
In that interview, Kathryn provides some perspective on the YCCC program, and explains the emphasis being placed on Aboriginal involvement from multiple levels of government.
Charles also speaks with Cr. Peter Olver, currently serving as Deputy Mayor of Mansfield Shire Council.
As an Aboriginal man elected to local government, Peter provides a valuable insight into some of the pressures he faces, and the need to re-consider direct alignment/membership with community organisations during terms in office.
That point is given further emphasis by third guest, the former Senior Policy Advisor of the VLGA, Bo Li.
Having served as a councillor on Darebin Council and his extensive knowledge of LGA policies and protocols, Bo talked authoritatively on the all-important issue of conflicts of interest.
In future podcast episodes, we will continue to provide relevant interviews that will assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People better understand – and engage with at multiple levels – with local government.