Empowered Australian Communities

A model to drive holistic development and eliminate disadvantage over a 10 year period in eight indigenous communities has been developed by Indigenous Community leaders in conjunction with the Commonwealth Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Called Empowered Communities, it harnesses resources that would otherwise be wasted on fragmented services and ineffectual programs to empower individuals, families and communities.

The model developed by Empowered Communities is not new. It has been explored over the past fifteen years in various settings as a way of harnessing resources from disparate programs for use by communities directly in developing themselves.

Civil Society Australia is working with communities in developing this approach for implementation in non-Indigenous communities. We are seeking expressions of interest from communities and community leaders wishing to participate.

The Commonwealth currently spends $30bn annually on indigenous programs, which amounts to $43,449 pa for each indigenous woman, man and child. Empowered Communities aims to harness these resources directly for communities to use in developing themselves, by-passing the service delivery programs, contractors and bureaucrats who currently channel this money and live off it.

The model:

In each region, government funds for various programs (welfare, family services, domestic violence, alcohol and drugs, employment and training, health, housing, and education) are consolidated into a single account;

2. These resources are used for holistic development of individuals, families and communities within that region (external social delivery agencies are excluded);

3. Community leaders negotiate with government over priority uses of these resources;

4. Communities and community organisations 'opt-in' to participate in the plan:

5. An external third-party monitors expenditure and productivity gains.

The principles:

1. Individuals and families are the key agents of social change;

2. Mutual rights and responsibilities for participants, organisations and funders;

3. Self-determination by communities;

4. Subsidiarity - decisions should be made at the lowest level possible for effectiveness.

Eight non-indigenous communities

What kind of non-indigenous communities could benefit from this model?

There are many possibilities. The following criteria can be used to assess whether this option is right for your community:

1. Communities where fragmented services, ineffectual programs and passive welfare have undermined the holistic development of individual, family and community well-being;

2. Communities with regional clusters of individuals, families, groups and networks, where regional activity can be developed;

3. Communities with strong natural leaders able to drive this model of empowerment.

Based on this criteria, some examples of communities we are interested in include:

African communities in Melbourne
La Trobe Valley communities in Victoria
Muslim communities in Western Sydney
Northern suburbs of Adelaide
Families of people with disabilities in South West Sydney
North West Coast of Tasmania
Pacific Islander communities in Brisbane
Sunshine region in Melbourne
Mature age workers in Hunter Valley
Families of people with mental illness in Inner Brisbane
Rural communities with high unemployment

Complete the form below to express your interest in participating.


Expression of Interest Form



Phone  (bh)     Phone (ah) 


Role or Occupation  


  I am interested in this model of community empowerment.

Tell us about yourself and your interest in this model.


Tell us about the community your are part of
 and how it would benefit from this model.


If you consider yourself to be a leader in this community,
 tell us how you exercise leadership.


I have the following skills:

           Community networking 
 Writing skills               
 Media skills                 
 IT skills                                
 Business planning        
 Research skills            
 Lobbying experience     
 Social media skills       
 Graphic design skills   


  I/We would like to become a member of Civil Society Australia.

Choose one of the following four categories of membership:


Please tick which of the following areas you are most interested in:

            Parents, families and carers
            Voluntary associations
            Circles of support
            Sporting clubs
            Churches and faith groups

           Small businesses       
            Family farms
            Small businesses
            Social enterprise, cooperatives and mutuals

            Health organisations
            Community services


Annual Fee*

Individuals $10
Associations $20
Small business $30
Services $100

 *The membership fee is based on a calendar year.

Payment Options

Please accept my/our membership application and          
I will send my cheque/money order to  Social Enterprise Partnerships
PO Box 159
Yarraville VIC 3013
(Cheque payable to Social Enterprise Partnerships)
I will pay by EFT transaction:



Bank: Commonwealth Bank of Australia
Account name: Social Enterprise Partnerships Ltd
BSB: 062 218
Account number: 1007 2945
Please send a tax invoice.

  I would like to make a donation of  $  

CLICK HERE to donate

  Civil Society Australia 2015