Our shared commitment
All Aboriginal children and young people are safe, resilient, thriving and living in culturally rich, strong Aboriginal families and communities.
Families, communities, and Aboriginal child-rearing practices are fundamental to raising strong Aboriginal children and young people. Supporting Aboriginal families to access safe and effective services enables better outcomes.
Supporting Aboriginal children and families to be strong in culture and proud of their unique identity can ensure that every Aboriginal child has the best start in life.
This means ensuring Aboriginal children and families have access to culturally appropriate services throughout pregnancy and early childhood, and reducing the over-representation of Aboriginal young people in care.
Goal 1: Aboriginal children are born healthy and thrive
Measures under Goal 1 have continued to improve
Supporting healthy children and families will promote long-term wellbeing and help future generations thrive. Victoria’s Aboriginal population is relatively young compared to non-Aboriginal Australians. In 2020, a projected 33% of Aboriginal Australians were aged under 15 (compared with 18% of non-Aboriginal Australians) (ABS 2018a, 2019a).
Continued improvements to birth weight and preterm births are encouraging, as strong maternal health and infant health outcomes set Aboriginal children up for success.
Although Aboriginal children are now more widely immunised than their non-Aboriginal peers, attendance at Supported Playgroups has dropped in recent years, as has participation in facilitated playgroups and in Maternal and Child Health Key Ages and Stages consultations. This suggests more must be done to ensure children are supported to thrive in their first 1,000 days.
All measures under this goal are featured.
Goal 1 directly aligns with the following Closing the Gap Outcomes and Targets
Outcome 2: Aboriginal Children are born healthy and strong
- Target 2: By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies with a healthy birthweight.
Closing the Gap – How Victoria is tracking nationally
In 2019, 89.5% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander babies born were of a healthy birthweight across Australia, compared to 90.4% in Victoria.
Nationally, based on progress from the baseline, the target shows good improvement and is on track to be met. In Victoria, based on progress from the baseline, this target shows improvement.
Objective 1.1 Improve maternal and infant health
Measure 1.1.1 Rate of low birth weight
Health is determined by a complex interaction between biology, health behaviours, access to quality healthcare, and social and cultural determinants of health. Social determinants, which include access to quality education and housing and food security, have the largest impact on health, and are a significant cause of health inequity. Additional factors impacting health for Aboriginal people include the ongoing effects of colonisation and racism, while culture is a strong protective factor for Aboriginal people’s health and wellbeing.1
In 2019, 11.7% of babies of Aboriginal mothers in Victoria were born with a low birth rate, which decreased from 15.2% in 2009. In comparison, 6.9% of babies of non-Aboriginal mothers were born with low birth weight in 2019.
Measure 1.1.2 Rate of preterm birth
12.1% of babies of Aboriginal mothers were born pre-term in 2019 compared to 12.3% in 2010. The gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal rates of preterm birth remained stable and was 8.2% in 2019.
Measure 1.1.3 Rate of perinatal mortality
Although considerably lower than a decade ago, perinatal mortality rates for babies of Aboriginal mothers continued to increase from a low of 30 (9 per 1,000) in 2014–16, up to 43 (12.6 per 1,000) in 2017–19. Contrastingly, perinatal mortality rates for babies born of non-Aboriginal mothers continued to decline, meaning perinatal mortality was 1.4 times more likely for babies of Aboriginal mothers than babies of non-Aboriginal mothers in 20017–19.
Measure 1.1.4 Smoking during pregnancy
In 2019, 41.2% of Aboriginal mothers smoked in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. This was slightly higher than the previous year (38.9% in 2018) and 2009 (40.2%).
The rate of smoking during pregnancy was over five times higher for Aboriginal women compared to non-Aboriginal women in 2018. It is important that targeted tobacco reduction strategies take account of colonial processes that have contributed to, and continue to contribute to, Aboriginal Victorians experiencing ongoing trauma and stress, racism and exclusion from economic structures – social determinants that are all associated with tobacco smoking.2
Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Program
The MCH Program aims to maximise the health and wellbeing outcomes for Aboriginal children, mothers and families. This includes key ages and stages developmental assessment, early detection, referral, and intervention. Aboriginal self-determination is a core principle of MCH service delivery and offers families choice and flexibility around how they access MCH services. This recognises the importance of Aboriginal organisations in delivering services to meet the health, wellbeing, cultural and safety aspirations of their local Aboriginal communities.
Objective 1.2 Children thrive in their first 1000 days
Measure 1.2.1 Participation rates for Maternal and Child Health Key Ages and Stages Consultations
Participation in Key Ages and Stages Consultations has generally increased year-to-year. As with recent years, participation at the first home visit consultation was near universal for Aboriginal families, with participation declining for all families over time, particularly after the four-month visit. Note that this finding is based on preliminary data. It is subject to change and should be used with caution.
Measure 1.2.2 Attendance at Koori Maternity Service
Attendance at Koori Maternity Services declined from 485 in 2018–19 to 430 and 405 in 2019–20 and 2020–21 respectively. Work continues with the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) and Koori Maternity Services (KMS) service providers to understand the changing participation rates.
Supporting the Koori Maternity Services workforce
The Maternity Services Education Program (MSEP) based at the Royal Women’s Hospital, continues to work in partnership with VACCHO and KMS to improve health outcomes for Victorian Aboriginal women and families. The partnership aims to strengthen connections of the KMS workforce, update clinical skills, enhance the cultural competency of the non-Aboriginal workforce, and build upon collaborative relationships with external experts.
Continuing professional development updates for KMS Midwives and Aboriginal Health Workers are delivered face-to-face or as online forums (during COVID-19 restrictions). Topics are informed by recommendations from the Consultative Council on Obstetric and Paediatric. Mortality and Morbidity Mothers Babies and Children report 2019, and input from the KMS teams, the KMS project leads at VACCHO, and the MSEP team.
Measure 1.2.3 Immunisation rates at 24 months and 60 months
Immunisation rates for Aboriginal children have increased substantially in recent years, with the proportion of immunised Aboriginal children aged 2 and 5 years old now being higher than across all Victorian children of the same age. Between 2008 and 2020, there was a substantial increase in immunisation rates for Aboriginal children at 1 and 5 years old (increasing to 94.3% and 97.4% respectively), while immunisation at 2 years old increased slightly to 93.9%.
Measure 1.2.4 Participation in facilitated playgroups (0–5 years)
Supported Playgroups use evidence-based strategies to assist parents to develop their skills and confidence to improve the quality of the early home learning environment. Considerably fewer Aboriginal children participated in Supported Playgroups in 2020 (436 children) than 2019 (668 children). Contrastingly, there was a slight increase in participation in Koorie Supported Playgroups (236 children in 2020, up from 229 in 2019). Koorie Supported Playgroups are an early intervention initiative to improve the wellbeing and developmental outcomes of Aboriginal children specifically. They provide a culturally safe environment for Aboriginal families to gather, and strengthen the developmental skills, wellbeing and cultural connectedness of Aboriginal children, individuals and families in their community. Many groups stopped operating for large parts of 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic.
Goal 2: Aboriginal children are raised by Aboriginal families
Measures under Goal 2 have remained stable
Aboriginal children continue to be removed from their families and placed in the out-of-home care system at rates significantly higher than non-Aboriginal children. In 2020–21, the rate of Aboriginal children placed in out-of-home care was 20.1 times higher than for non-Aboriginal children, highlighting that reducing over-representation must continue to remain a key focus.
Importantly, in 2020–21, 80.6% of Aboriginal children in the out-of-home care system were placed with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relatives/kin or other Aboriginal carers. However, the proportion of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care with a cultural plan has decreased in recent years, despite Cultural Plans becoming a legislative requirement in 2016. This suggests that the system is not working as it should to properly support Aboriginal children and keep them connected to culture, and community.
Similarly, while more Aboriginal children are now exiting the out-of-home care system, and the proportion being reunited with their parent(s) or not returning to care within 12 months has remained stable over recent years, it has nonetheless decreased since 2007–08.
All measures under this goal are featured.
Goal 2 directly aligns with the following Closing the Gap Outcomes and Targets
Outcome 12: Aboriginal children are not overrepresented in the child protection system
- Target 12: By 2031, reduce the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care by 45%.
Closing the Gap – How Victoria is tracking nationally
In 2021, the rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children aged 0–17 years in out-of-home care was 57.6 per 1,000 children across Australia, compared to 103.0 per 1,000 children in Victoria.
Nationally and in Victoria, these rates are worsening based on the baseline.
Objective 2.1 Eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal children and young people in care
Measure 2.1.1 Rate and number of children and young people in care
In 2020–21, 134.9 per 1,000 Aboriginal children in Victoria were removed from their families and placed in the out-of-home care system (2,572 total children). This is a substantial and concerning increase since 2008–09, when 37.7 per 1,000 Aboriginal children were in the out-of-home care system (734 total children). This differs significantly to the rates for non-Aboriginal children, at 6.7 per 1,000 (6,574 total children) in 2021, increased from 3.8 per 1,000 (4,549 total children) in 2008–09. This means that almost 30% of children in the out-of-home care system are Aboriginal, despite Aboriginal people representing less than 1% of the Victorian population.
Consequently, Aboriginal children are 20.1 times as likely to be removed from their families and placed in the child protection system compared to their non-Aboriginal peers – a substantial and concerning increase from a rate ratio of 9.9 in 2008–09. A broad range of systemic and socioeconomic factors contribute to these trends.
Measure 2.1.2 Number of families engaged with family support and intensive family support services
The number of Aboriginal children engaged with family support and intensive family support services decreased from 1,450 in the 2018–19 reporting period to 1,017 in 2020–21. This followed the trend for non-Aboriginal children, which decreased from 10,986 to 8,585 in the same period. DFFH experienced data collection system issues in 2020–21 that are known to have resulted in under-reporting of the number of children commencing in intensive family support services.
Objective 2.2 Increase Aboriginal care, guardianship and management of Aboriginal children and young people in care
Measure 2.2.1 Number and proportion of Aboriginal children and young people in care placed with i) relatives/kin and ii) other Aboriginal carers
In 2020–21, 80.6% of Aboriginal children in the out-of-home care system were placed with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal relatives/kin or other Aboriginal carers. This is a considerable improvement on the 57.7% in 2008–09. 3.4% of Aboriginal children were placed in residential care in 2020–21, with 0.7% in Aboriginal Residential care.
Measure 2.2.2 Number and proportion of Aboriginal children and young people in care with a cultural plan
A Cultural Plan must be approved for an Aboriginal child within 19 weeks of them entering the out-of-home care system. In 2020–21, 63.5% of Aboriginal children in the out-of-home care system had an approved Cultural Plan. This is a decrease of 4.8% since 2019–20. A new model for cultural planning was implemented in 2017 meaning that 2016–17 and 2018–19 figures have been updated. They are included here for completeness. Due to the way cultural planning data is reported in the Client Relationship Information system, data is considered preliminary for the reporting period. Final data is released a year after the reporting period and is a more accurate measure of the number of cultural plans.
Measure 2.2.3 Number and proportion of Aboriginal children and young people in care on contractible orders managed by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs)
A case contract is a formal arrangement in the form of a written agreement, between Child Protection and another agency for the provision of case management for a child subject to a protection order. Contracting arrangements are designed to enable the most appropriate agency to support implementation of the case plan.
In line with Aboriginal self-determination, the Aboriginal Children’s Forum set a target for the progressive increase in the proportion of Aboriginal children in out-of-home care system on contractible orders to be case managed by an ACCO.
In 2020–21, 42.6% of Aboriginal children and young people in the out-of-home care system on contractible orders were managed by ACCOs. The rate remains steady since the previous reporting period.
Measure 2.2.4 Number and proportion of Aboriginal children and young people on protection orders under the direct authority of an ACCO (Section 18)
6.9% of Aboriginal children and young people on protection orders were under the direct authority of an ACCO (Section 18) in 2020–21 compared to 5.7% in 2019–20.
This is in addition to the number of Aboriginal children contracted to an ACCO, as outlined in measure 2.2.3.
"Having an Aboriginal case manager has increased trust in the process because there is an understanding of their experience both historical and present"' (Client – Mutjang Bupuwingarrak Mukman).
“The case managers are educated in understanding us. Not just in a mainstream sense in a cultural way' (Aboriginal Carer – Mutjang Bupuwingarrak Mukman).
Objective 2.3 Increase family reunifications for Aboriginal children and young people in care
Measure 2.3.1 Number of children and young people reunified with parent(s) within 12 months of admission to care as a proportion of all Aboriginal children and young people admitted to care
In 2019–20, 48.3% of Aboriginal children and young people were reunified with parent(s) within 12 months of admission to the out-of-home care system. This rate remains stable since the previous reporting period.
Measure 2.3.2 Number of Aboriginal children and young people who exit care and do not return to care within 12 months as a proportion of all Aboriginal children and young people who exit care
In 2019–20, 75.5% of Aboriginal children and young people who exited the out-of-home care system did not return to the system within 12 months. Importantly, this is higher than the 2018–19 rate of 69.5% but remains lower than the 2008–09 rate of 80.6%.
Goal 3: Aboriginal families and households thrive
Measures under Goal 3 have worsened
Family violence has a disproportionate impact on Aboriginal people in Victoria, particularly women and children. Concerningly, reports of family violence incidents involving Aboriginal people have increased considerably in recent years, as have notifications to child protection. Over the same period, rates of family violence incidents in the wider population have not increased to the same extent. Family violence experienced by Aboriginal people is perpetrated by people from all backgrounds.
The increase in family violence incident reports may not solely indicate increased prevalence of family violence, and may in part reflect policy and practice changes as well as improved reporting and recording. Aboriginal women have faced and continue to face unique barriers to reporting family violence with historic and ongoing discrimination by police creating deep distrust.
The latest data shows that Aboriginal Victorians were 13.8 times more likely to access homelessness services in 2020–21 than their non-Aboriginal peers, with 16.5% of all Aboriginal Victorians having accessed those services during 2020–21.
The following measures have not been featured in the Report, as 2021 Census data was unavailable at the time of reporting.
- Measure 3.2.2: Proportion of households with less than 50% median equivalised income
- Measure 3.2.3: Proportion of Aboriginal people in rental or mortgage stress.
- Measure 3.2.5: Proportion of Aboriginal Victorians living in over-crowded dwellings.
Data for these measures is available on the Data Dashboard, which can be accessed via the First Peoples – State Relations website.
Goal 3 directly aligns with the following Closing the Gap Outcomes and Targets
Outcome 9: Aboriginal people secure appropriate, affordable housing that is aligned with their priorities and needs.
- Target 9: By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people living in appropriately sized (not overcrowded) housing to 88%.
Outcome 13: Aboriginal families and households are safe
- Target 13: By 2031, the rate of all forms of family violence and abuse against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children is reduced at least by 50%, as progress towards 0.
Closing the Gap – How Victoria is tracking nationally
- Target 9: In 2016, 78.9% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were living in appropriately sized (not overcrowded) housing across Australia, compared to 87.6% in Victoria.
This target relies on Census data. No new data was available, since the baseline year of 2016, at the time of reporting.
- Target 13: In 2018–19, 8.4% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander females aged 15 years and over experienced domestic physical or threatened physical harm across Australia, compared to 7.5% in Victoria.
This target relies on National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey data. No new data is available since the baseline year of 2018–19.
Objective 3.1 Reduce the incidence and impact of family violence affecting Aboriginal families3
Measure 3.1.1 Number and proportion of family violence incident reports involving an Aboriginal other party, and proportion of those who were the subject of a previous family incident report4
Aboriginal Victorians are disproportionately involved in family violence incidents. Reports of family violence incidents by Aboriginal other parties have continued to increase, with 6,0375 incidents being reported in 2021, representing 6.6% of all incidents reported. 87.0% of those were repeat incidents.
Measure 3.1.2 Number and proportion of family violence incident reports involving an Aboriginal affected family member; and proportion of those who were the subject of a previous family incident report
4,936 family violence incidents against an Aboriginal affected family member were reported in 2021, representing 5.4% of all incidents. 83.1% of those were repeat incidents. This was a slight increase on 2020, with incidents against Aboriginal affected family members also increasing slightly as a proportion of all incidents (to 5.42%) due to a decrease of incidents involving non-Aboriginal affected family members.
Measure 3.1.3 Number and proportion of notifications to child protection for children and young people where family violence is identified
In 2020–21, 5,121 reports to child protection were recorded for Aboriginal children or young people where family violence was identified – a substantial increase from 3,123 in 2011-12. This represented 44.1% of all notifications involving Aboriginal Victorians, which was considerably lower than the 50.1% in 2011–12.5
Aboriginal Access Points (AAP) are being established as a complementary service model to work alongside The Orange Door, providing a culturally safe referral pathway for Aboriginal people impacted by family violence.
Consistent with the Victorian Government’s commitment to self-determination, the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum endorsed the draft Aboriginal Access Points concept model in January 2020 along with the locations of the first three Aboriginal Access Points (Barwon, Bayside Peninsula and Mallee).
A series of workshops with key Aboriginal stakeholders informed the AAP’s service model which was endorsed by the Dhelk Dja members at the Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum in May 2021.
The first Aboriginal Access Point is expected to be operational by December 2022.
Objective 3.2 Increase income and housing security for Aboriginal households
Measure 3.2.1 Proportion of adults who ran out of food in the previous 12 months and couldn't afford to buy more
Food and housing security is a basic need for all people. A person is considered to be food insecure if, in the previous year, they experienced at least one occasion where they ran out of food and could not afford to buy more.
Aboriginal adults in Victoria were three times more likely to have experienced food insecurity in 2020-21 than non-Aboriginal adults.
84% of Aboriginal adults had reliable access to sufficient food – statistically significantly lower than non-Aboriginal adults, where 94% of adults had reliable access to sufficient food.
"Victoria’s Aboriginal people; through the ongoing systemic process of violent dispossession, displacement, and colonialism; have been locked out of their rightful access to secure food, housing, and the economy. Aboriginal people have lower rates of home ownership, earn lower wages, and are largely excluded from equitable participation in the economy. The higher rates of food and housing insecurity we see today among Victorian Aboriginal people are an enduring legacy of stolen lands, resources, and wages." – Minister Gabrielle Williams’ Yoorrook Justice Commission witness
Measure 3.2.4 Proportion of Victorians accessing homelessness services
More Aboriginal Victorians accessed homelessness services in 2020–21 than in the past decade (10,760), despite the number of non-Aboriginal Victorians accessing these services being the lowest since 2015-16 (83,068). This means that Aboriginal Victorians are 13.1 times more likely to access homelessness services than their non-Aboriginal peers, with 17% of Aboriginal Victorians accessing homelessness services in 2020–21.
The From Homelessness to a Home (H2H) program was a significant investment in ending homelessness and rough sleeping for many people in Victoria.
In July 2020, the Victorian government committed over $150 million to provide 1,845 housing and support packages to people who were experiencing homelessness and were placed in emergency accommodation during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The program incorporates property services, support services, and flexible brokerage to deliver the program.
As of 8 April 2022, 376 Aboriginal Victorians are supported through the H2H program. Of these, 264 moved into their new homes totalling 17% of total program participants. Fourteen Community Partnerships deliver H2H across Victoria. These partnerships are led by a Community Housing Provider who partner with a range of specialist supports, including Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.
Domain 1: Victorian Government Investment and Action
The Victorian Government is working to drive improved outcomes for children and families.
The key Aboriginal Governance Forums for realising outcomes in this Domain are: the Aboriginal Children’s Forum, Aboriginal Strategic Governance Forum, Dhelk Dja Partnership Forum, Victorian Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing Partnership Forum, and Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework Implementation Working Group.
Key investments in 2021/22 include:
- $2 million to support Aboriginal people to be strong and healthy through:
- continued support for maternal, child and family health services delivered in Aboriginal organisations.
- funding for the Aboriginal Metropolitan Ice Partnership, which helps improve access to services for Aboriginal people affected by methamphetamine and other drugs.
- A share in $11.3 million to ACCOs to deliver targeted case management for children, families and diverse communities that need to access practical support and further information about COVID-19 vaccines. Funding will provide more case management capacity for organisations working with Victorians with complex needs, such as victim survivors of family violence, people facing housing instability, and children in foster and kinship care.
Aboriginal Family Violence Industry Strategy
The Aboriginal Family Violence Industry Strategy 2021–2023 (the Strategy) has been informed, developed and underpinned by Aboriginal self-determination. The Final Draft was presented to the Dhelk Dja Koori Caucus for endorsement in June 2021 and endorsed at the August 2021 Partnership Forum.
- The Strategy’s vision is for an Aboriginal family violence workforce that is self-determining, valued, empowered, supported, skilled and equipped to prevent and respond to family violence
- This will mean that Aboriginal people can access specialist family violence services where workers have the cultural knowledge, experience and expertise to meet their needs in culturally safe and relevant ways
- The Strategy’s aim is to strengthen and build the capacity, specialisation and infrastructure of the Aboriginal family violence workforce and sector
- It will be the first of three, 3-year plans aligning with Building From Strength and its First Rolling Action Plan 2019–22.
Preventing the Cycle of Violence Aboriginal Fund
The Fund was established in 2018 and supports Aboriginal-led family violence prevention and early intervention initiatives. $2.7 million was invested over two years (2018–2020) to support 11 projects in the inaugural grant round of the fund. Additional funding was allocated in 2020–21 via the Dhelk Dja Aboriginal Family Violence Fund.
The Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) commissioned an independent evaluation of the funded projects which found that the range of prevention projects reached at least 50,000 people across Victoria. The evaluation, which was completed in September 2021, also highlighted the factors that enabled the projects to achieve their intended outcomes, including the involvement of Elders and respected community members.
Dhelk Dja Aboriginal Family Violence Fund
The Dhelk Dja Family Violence Fund was established as a flexible pool of funding streams for eligible Aboriginal organisations and community groups to enable a range of Aboriginal-led tailored responses for victim survivors and people who use violence.
Over 45 Aboriginal-led initiatives and services share in the $18.2 million Dhelk Dja Family Violence funding pool, enabling Victorian Aboriginal organisations to deliver culturally appropriate support for Aboriginal victim survivors and people who use violence. Support includes regionally based healing and change camps and weekly yarning sessions, financial counselling support for Aboriginal women wanting to leave unsafe homes, and the delivery of therapeutic services and programs to support Aboriginal children.
The fund provides Aboriginal organisations with funding over two years, giving them greater certainty in planning how they deliver family violence services that are tailored to the needs of
2021 Community Initiatives Fund funded activities
Through the annual $1.1 million Victorian Aboriginal Community Initiatives Fund, the 2021–22 funding round supported 25 culturally appropriate, place-based community-led projects. These initiatives are dedicated to preventing and responding to family violence in Victorian Aboriginal communities and will be delivered by Victorian Aboriginal organisations and community groups.
Children and family services
Funding has been committed to the below initiatives:
- $7.587 million in 2021–22 and $8.375 million ongoing for transferring case management of Aboriginal children to ACCOs.
- $1.542 million in 2022–23 and $1.572 million in 2023–24 for the Innovation and Learning Fund.
- $1.176 million in 2022–23 and $1.613 million in 2023–24 for Senior Cultural Advisors.
- $557,598 in 2022–23 and $712,604 in 2023–24 for Aboriginal Cultural Support and Awareness Advisors.
DFFH has continued to strengthen funding for family services delivered through ACCOs:
- $43.7 million per annum in 2020–21
- $47.5 million per annum in 2021–22
- $52.1 million per annum in 2022–23.
Funding will increase again in 2022–23 as ACCOs share in a $7 million funding increase for family services delivered through the 2022/23 State Budget.
Under the Aboriginal Children in Aboriginal Care (ACAC) program, DFFH is supporting Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BDAC) and VACCA to implement the Aboriginal Children in Care response to child protection reports pilot. This approach aims to deliver culturally informed investigation of child protection reports and offer culturally appropriate support for families. Two pilot teams will be established with decision-making responsibility.
Separate to this, VACCA, BDAC, Njernda Aboriginal Corporation and Goolum Goolum Aboriginal Co-Operative consortium are undertaking a trial of three different models of ACCO-led, collaborative intervention following the child protection intake.
DFFH is committed to empowering Aboriginal communities to implement Mana-na woorn-tyeen maar-takoort, Every Aboriginal Person Has a Home: The Victorian Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework. DFFH is working with Aboriginal Housing Victoria (AHV) and representatives of the Aboriginal community on options to improve access to homelessness services for Aboriginal households.
Core initiatives are underway across Homes Victoria, Community Housing Industry Association Victoria and the Council of Homeless Persons to support the housing and homelessness system to deliver culturally safe service responses and enable implementation of culturally safe practices.
Increasing Aboriginal housing sector capacity
Homes Victoria has commissioned a project to conduct feasibility assessments of 8 ACCOs to understand their capacity to deliver long-term
housing. The project will assess their land assets and determine the financial sustainability requirements to maximise opportunities through Victoria’s Big Housing Build to deliver long-term housing for Aboriginal communities.
Homes for Aboriginal Victorians Round (HfAVR)
Department of Treasury and Finance, with Homes Victoria, is leading the delivery of the Homes for Aboriginal Victorians Round (HfAVR) of the Social Housing Growth Fund. This is expected to provide more than $150 million in grant funding to build around 350–400 new social housing dwellings for Aboriginal Victorians, in partnership with ACCOs.
This initiative contributes to Victoria’s $5.3 billion Big Housing Build commitment for 10% of new social housing dwellings to be for Aboriginal Victorian households. It also includes measures that help build the capacity and capability of a community housing sector for Aboriginal Victorians. The funding round adheres to a set of First Order Principles, using self-determination as the guiding principle. The tender is aimed at ensuring that social housing dwellings funded through the Social Housing Growth Fund will be owned and operated by ACCOs as Registered Community Housing Agencies (CHAs) or transitioned to ACCOs once appropriately registered with the assistance of CHAs.
The initiative further supports ACCO ownership of social housing by:
- providing funding for ACCOs to become RHAs
- using a long-term procurement model that allows proposals to be developed within timeframes that suit the organisation
- dedicating personnel outside of the evaluation team to provide feedback on proposals ahead of the lodgement to support organisations to put forward strong proposals.
Aboriginal Private Rental Assistance Program
Homes Victoria is working with ACCOs to open doors to private rental housing for Aboriginal Victorians through the Aboriginal Private Rental Assistance Program (APRAP). APRAP is a preventative intervention that provides private rental brokerage and holistic support to households experiencing or at risk of homelessness. The program is intended to prevent or end homelessness and housing crisis by rapidly rehousing people and supporting households to sustain affordable and appropriate housing in the private rental market.
The program was initially rolled out to 6 ACCOs in 5 areas in 2020. In 2022–23, the program will be expanded to cover 4 additional areas.
1 Victorian Agency for Health Information, The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal Victorians: Findings from the Victorian Population Health Survey, 2017, p.15.
2 Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, ‘Determinants of health: Tobacco use’, .
3 The overall increase in the number of recorded family incidents over time has in part been due to improved recording of incidents. Since 2011, initiatives such as the Family Violence Code of Practice have been put in place by Victoria Police to improve the recording of family incidents, the individuals involved and the offences committed. Comparisons over time should be interpreted with caution.
4 The ‘other party’ refers to the alleged perpetrator involved in a family incident. The other party could be a current partner, former partner or a family member.
5 In 2010–11, enhancements to the child protection Client Relationship Information System saw a new field added to capture family violence as an area of concern at the report stage. Since then, the rate of notification to child protection for children where family violence is identified has considerably increased for both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children.
Reviewed 21 September 2022