Closing the Gap Review
The engagement approach will guide how the Commission communicates with you on its review of the National Agreement.
Successful engagement, and in particular with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, is critical to ensure the Review is effective. Effective engagement increases the visibility and understanding of issues and empowers people to have their say over decisions that affect their lives.
The Commission published its engagement approach on 6 July. The approach is underpinned by commitments under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap, most notably in relation to shared decision-making, cultural safety and responsiveness.
The engagement approach is intended to be dynamic and may be refined over time as the Commission learns from its engagement on the Review.
Engagement approach – Plain English (Under development)
Engagement approach for the Closing the Gap Review [Plain English]
The plain English version is under development.
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Engagement approach – Full version
Engagement approach for the Closing the Gap Review [Full version]
This is the engagement approach for undertaking the three-yearly Review (the Review) on progress under the National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the Agreement). It outlines how the Productivity Commission aims to undertake engagement, in particular in a culturally safe way with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their representatives.1
Note: Engagement in this context refers to how the Commission will facilitate connections, it does not cover what the Commission will engage on in respect of content.
The engagement approach sets out:
- the objective and principles to guide the Commission’s engagement for the Review
- what these principles mean in practice.
Objective and guiding principles for engagement
The objective of the Commission’s engagement approach is to facilitate shared decision-making in its Review to determine progress under the Agreement, including supporting self-determination through engagement.2
Principles for engagement
Consistent with the National Agreement,3 the Commission commits to engagement that is:
- fair and inclusive – a diversity of perspectives is supported and enabled, and all wanting to contribute and be heard have the opportunity to do so
- transparent and open – information is provided and decisions are made in a transparent and open manner, and it is possible to assess this has occurred
- ongoing – every stage of the Review is informed by engagement
- reciprocal – at a minimum, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their representatives are provided feedback on how their input has been understood and informed decisions.4
Engagement practices to reflect these principles
A set of engagement practices are designed to assess the Commission’s implementation of the principles. While the principles are long term, the engagement practices may adapt and evolve in response to what has been learned along the way. This includes taking account of the needs of participants, in particular Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
Engagement is fair and inclusive
Engagement is transparent and open
Engagement is ongoing
Engagement is reciprocal
a Exceptions may occur where the material includes potentially defamatory content, potentially discriminatory content, content from a third party submitted without permission, personally identifying material or in confidence material not labelled. In these cases, the Commission would aim to resolve these issues with the party providing the material (as per our processes dealing with submissions) and only if unable to would the information not be published.
- This is consistent with the National Agreement and the Review terms of reference. Locate Footnote 1 above
- Under the Agreement, one of the key elements of shared decision-making is that ‘self-determination is supported, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lived experience is understood and respected’ (clause 32c(v)). The Agreement provides guidance on what self-determination entails, by identifying that ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community control is an act of self-determination’ (clause 44). This is consistent with the Australian Human Rights Commission’ framing of self-determination as an ‘on-going process of choice’ to ensure that Indigenous communities are able to meet their social, cultural and economic needs’(https://humanrights.gov.au/our-work/rights-and-freedoms/right-self-determination) and the Federal Attorney-General’s Department as ‘the entitlement of peoples to have control over their destiny and to be treated respectfully’ (https://www.ag.gov.au/rights-and-protections/human-rights-and-anti-discrimination/human-rights-scrutiny/public-sector-guidance-sheets/right-self-determination) Locate Footnote 2 above
- In particular, clauses 17, 32 and 59 in the National Agreement as they relate to shared decision-making, strong partnership elements and transforming government organisations. Locate Footnote 3 above
- This is consistent with clause 59(f) in the National Agreement which states that engagement should be done in a way where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know what feedback has been provided and how governments have taken account of it in making decisions. Locate Footnote 4 above