University of Technology Sydney

15639 Local Government and Indigenous Governance

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Institute for Public Policy and Governance
Credit points: 6 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

Local Government and Indigenous Governance recognises that across Australia local governments are uniquely positioned to cooperate with the variable forms of Indigenous local governance, and that local government employees need knowledge and skills for working with these governance forms and with Indigenous peoples and communities more generally. This subject brings together four modules that deepen students’ understanding and broaden their knowledge of Indigenous governance practices, as well as placing an emphasis upon social justice, principals of equity, access, participation and rights. The focus of the subject is primarily on NSW Aboriginal history, people, places, policies and best practice in local government. This provides a case study for these learnings across Australia.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Students will be able to assess their personal values and evaluate the impact of cultural bias when working with local government and Indigenous governance.
2. Students will be able to articulate and apply principles and practices that promote respectful engagement in Indigenous governance.
3. Students will be able to develop and evaluate strategies for establishing long-term partnerships with Indigenous individuals, organisations and communities.

Teaching and learning strategies

This subject is facilitated through the UTS Learning Management System (LMS) ‘Canvas’, as a six credit point microcredential. It comprises ten weeks of learning at approximately twelve hours per week.


The three scheduled face-to-face workshops incorporate a range of teaching and learning strategies, including interactive presentations, discussions of readings and case studies, and peers working together in small group activities. Readings and video content presage, consolidate and challenge students’ understanding of their pre-existing understandings and the content presented. The course also comprises of three live video sessions facilitated through interactive zoom discussions. These live sessions are mandatory and contribute to your assessment requirements for the course. Students are encouraged to utilise the ‘Discussion Board’ available on Canvas where they can work on each topic.

Content (topics)

The subject content offers diverse perspectives and will challenge and deepen students’ understanding of contemporary issues, such as the ‘Recognise’ campaign and the ‘Voice Treaty and Truth’ telling processes that confront local government and Aboriginal people in the 21 Century. Through exploring the unique rights of Aboriginal people and worldviews in their local government areas and more broadly, students will develop the capacity for working in partnerships with their local communities. The subject moves from these normative goals though to aspects of local government practice, then service delivery. It is structured as follows:

Module 1: Introduction to Cultural Capabilities

Students are introduced to cultural competency and begin the task of enhancing their cultural capabilities, namely the ability to work effectively with individuals from a variety of different racial, ethnic, cultural, religious, and socioeconomic backgrounds. This recognises that the development of cultural competence is a continuous process, not a single event. It includes knowledge, behavior and attitudes; the skill in expressing cultural understanding effectively in intercultural contexts and understanding that cultural capabilities extend beyond individual professional behaviors to include organizations and systems. The policy imperative for cultural competence and increased capability is traced through international, federal, state and local institutions and legislation. Examples of practice embedded in local governance, including Local Aboriginal Land Councils (ALCs) and Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations, are profiled.

Module 2: Our History Matters

This provides students with an overview of the history of Indigenous Australians and Aboriginal-European relations beyond everyday understandings. Commencing with an account of why ‘Welcome to Country’ is important, an overview of the diversity of the geographical, spiritual and economic organisation of Aboriginal people in NSW prior to 1788 is presented. The importance of age, gender, kin and country as demarcations of identity and communal responsibilities are also emphasized. The module then traces the history of Aboriginal-European relations through first contact, the frontier wars and massacres, the ‘protect and assimilate’ policies of the Aboriginal Protection Board commencing in 1833, the legal contestation surrounding who was and is an Aboriginal person, the era of missions and reserves and the reconciliation movement, including key determinations of the High Court of Australia and ensuing policy. Module 2 concludes by examining the campaign for Constitutional Recognition, the Uluru Statement from the Heart (‘Voice Treaty Truth’).

Module 3: Culture Matters

Module 3 educates students about the major cultural observances in Australia, and in more detail in NSW, especially the role that local government plays in these. The importance of these cultural observances is underscored. They include: Survival Day (YABURN); National Sorry Day; Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week. Cultural leadership is explored and exemplars provided and it is contrasted with dominant, trait-based leadership thinking. Examples of cultural heritage practice at the local level are profiled and through this, concepts of nationhood and Aboriginality are problematized. The practice of dual naming is explained. Place-specific cultural observances are also utilised as case studies to demonstrate the specificity of cultural observances, providing a greater appreciation of diversity in Aboriginal practice.

Module 4: Service Mapping and Delivery

Historical and structural disadvantage has resulted in Aboriginal people experiencing individual disadvantage across a range of indicators, as evidenced in life expectancy, education, aged care and disability. This disadvantage is mapped and the requirements for service delivery are set out. The roles of local Aboriginal Controlled Organisations in addressing these needs is detailed. Module 4 also pays particular attention to the requirements for justice reinvestment across both detainment and imprisonment. It is also recognised that local service delivery have important arts and culture components. As such, Aboriginal Keeping Places and the rejuvenation of Aboriginal language as an element of empowerment and self-determination are elucidated.

Through the combination of understandings provided in these four modules, inclusive of presentations from a range of guest speakers/facilitators (both face-to-face and in video format) and peer-to-peer learning, students are positioned to inform local government practice to be more inclusive of, and be rewarded by, a greater understanding of Indigenous local governance.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Online/in class post/presentation

Type: Presentation
Weight: 20%
Criteria:

1. Communicate and engage effectively with people from diverse perspectives and cultures across multiple platforms, acknowledging the status of Indigenous peoples to develop cross-disciplinary strategy. (C.1) - 20%

2. Synthesize and deliver well-informed, engaging and effective presentations in written, oral and digital formats for diverse audience types. (C.2) - 20%

3. Address issues in local government and intergovernmental organisations with an attitude that is open, ethical and empathetic. (A.1) - 20%

4. Apply leadership skills to take a proactive and convincing role in fostering cultural competence and identifying and addressing policy issues. (A.2) - 20%

5. Reflect on personal views and values in the development of professional judgement and practice. (A.3) - 20%

Assessment task 2: Online workshop 1

Type: Reflection
Weight: 10%
Length:

90 minutes

Criteria:

1. Communicate and engage effectively with people from diverse perspectives and cultures across multiple platforms, acknowledging the status of Indigenous peoples to develop cross-disciplinary strategy. (C.1) - 20%

2. Synthesize and deliver well-informed, engaging and effective presentations in written, oral and digital formats for diverse audience types. (C.2) - 20%

3. Address issues in local government and intergovernmental organisations with an attitude that is open, ethical and empathetic. (A.1) - 20%

4. Apply leadership skills to take a proactive and convincing role in fostering cultural competence and identifying and addressing policy issues. (A.2) - 20%

5. Reflect on personal views and values in the development of professional judgement and practice. (A.3) - 20%

Assessment task 3: Online workshop 2

Type: Reflection
Weight: 10%
Length:

90 minutes

Criteria:

1. Communicate and engage effectively with people from diverse perspectives and cultures across multiple platforms, acknowledging the status of Indigenous peoples to develop cross-disciplinary strategy. (C.1) - 20%

2. Synthesize and deliver well-informed, engaging and effective presentations in written, oral and digital formats for diverse audience types. (C.2) - 20%

3. Address issues in local government and intergovernmental organisations with an attitude that is open, ethical and empathetic. (A.1) - 20%

4. Apply leadership skills to take a proactive and convincing role in fostering cultural competence and identifying and addressing policy issues. (A.2) - 20%

5. Reflect on personal views and values in the development of professional judgement and practice. (A.3) - 20%

Assessment task 4: Online workshop 3

Type: Reflection
Weight: 10%
Length:

90 minutes

Criteria:

1. Communicate and engage effectively with people from diverse perspectives and cultures across multiple platforms, acknowledging the status of Indigenous peoples to develop cross-disciplinary strategy. (C.1) - 20%

2. Synthesize and deliver well-informed, engaging and effective presentations in written, oral and digital formats for diverse audience types. (C.2) - 20%

3. Address issues in local government and intergovernmental organisations with an attitude that is open, ethical and empathetic. (A.1) - 20%

4. Apply leadership skills to take a proactive and convincing role in fostering cultural competence and identifying and addressing policy issues. (A.2) - 20%

5. Reflect on personal views and values in the development of professional judgement and practice. (A.3) - 20%

Assessment task 5: Report

Type: Report
Weight: 50%
Length:

3,000, or equivalent.

Criteria:

1. Communicate and engage effectively with people from diverse perspectives and cultures across multiple platforms, acknowledging the status of Indigenous peoples to develop cross-disciplinary strategy. (C.1) - 20%

2. Address issues in local government and intergovernmental organisations with an attitude that is open, ethical and empathetic. (A.1) - 20%

3. Apply leadership skills to take a proactive and convincing role in fostering cultural competence and identifying and addressing policy issues. (A.2) - 20%

4. Apply processes of organisational practice and review for a broad range of policy fields across diverse types of organisations, relating to local government (P.1) - 20%

5. Apply and lead creative, evidence-based approaches to complex, real world issues in local government and related organisations (I.2) - 20%

Minimum requirements

Students must meet attendance requirements and overall must obtain at least 50% of the total marks.

Required texts

There is no set textbook for this course. Extensive open access resources are provided through the Canvas platform.