Aboriginal Affairs

LGNSW has a longstanding interest in Aboriginal Affairs and supports initiatives that bring about reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and the wider community.

LGNSW respects and acknowledges the unique culture, societies, history and traditional lands of Aboriginal Australians in NSW. Aboriginal Australians retain distinct cultural identities whether they live in urban, regional or remote areas of Australia. 


  • Encourages councils to understand and respond to their local Aboriginal communities in NSW
  • Encourages governments to respond with infrastructure, facilitates and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People, and appropriate funding for Aboriginal programs
  • Works to improve legislation relating to Aboriginal issues
  • Works to improve relations between councils and Local Aboriginal Land Councils.

Cr Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship 

The late Cr Pat Dixon was the first Aboriginal woman elected to local government in Australia and worked tirelessly for the community she represented. 

In recognition of her service and achievements in local government, a scholarship has been established for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander councillors and council staff members in NSW to undertake further study, professional development or research.

The scholarship will provide assistance to the value of $5000 for one or more scholarship recipients in a calendar year. 

Eligibility – Only Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander NSW local government councillors or employees are eligible to apply. 

Applications – Applications for the 2020 scholarship are open from 13 February to 31 March 2020 through LGNSW’s online application portal. Applicants are required to upload confirmation of Aboriginality and a brief CV as part of the application process.

Review the applicant information sheet.


NSW Local Government Aboriginal Network Conference

The Local Government Aboriginal Network (LGAN) will hold its annual conference in Australia Hall, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, from 9-11 October 2019.

The network conference provides a forum for discussion on local government issues relating to Aboriginal communities, business and the wider community.

To find out more and register your interest in attending or sponsoring the event, email LGAN Executive Cr Dominic Wy Kanak or LGNSW Policy Officer Elle Brunsdon on (02) 9242 4082.

Past conferences


Narrabri Shire Council hosted the 2018 Conference from 12 to 14 September. 


Albury City Council hosted the 2017 Conference from 13-15 September.

Collaborate NSW: Local government and Aboriginal communities working together

Collaborate NSW is a printable resource kit (PDF, 3.4MB) and website created by LGNSW, with the assistance of the NSW Office of Local Government, the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, Aboriginal Affairs NSW and NSW Planning and Environment to encourage the inclusion of Aboriginal communities in council decision making, service development and delivery.

All NSW’s councils are encouraged to use this resource as a first step to unlock this potential and to create common ground, strengthen local communities and work with other spheres of government to achieve reconciliation with Aboriginal Australians.

Stand for your community

LGNSW is working with the NSW Office of Local Government to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to boost their representation as candidates at the 2017 local government elections. See LGNSW Media Release.

For more information please visit the Stand for your community page on the Collaborate NSW website.

Australian Constitution - Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians

LGNSW will continue to support the Australian Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and encourages all NSW councils to adopt their own position in support.

LGNSW has developed a Position Statement (PDF, 69KB).

MoU with NSW Reconciliation Council

At the 2016 LGNSW Conference, a MoU (PDF, 1.4MB) was signed which outlines the shared vision of the two organisations.

Important Dates

  • 26 January - Australia Day/Day of Mourning/Survival Day

  • 26 May - National Sorry Day - Journey of Healing

  • 27 May to 3 June - National Reconciliation Week

  • 7 to 14 July - National Aboriginal Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week

  • 4 August - National Aboriginal and Islander Children's Day