June 01,2018
Eight law firms have partnered with the NSW Coalition of Aboriginal Regional Alliances (NCARA) to support local decision making and capacity building.

Allens Linklaters, Ashurst, Clayton Utz, Colin Biggers & Paisley, Gilbert + Tobin, Hall & Wilcox, HWL Ebsowrth, and Sparke Helmore recently signed individual Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) with NCARA and respective individual Aboriginal regional alliances to commence free legal work as part of the NSW Government’s Local Decision Making (LDM) initiative.

Local Decision Making (LDM) is part of OCHRE, the NSW Government’s community focussed plan for Aboriginal affairs. LDM is underpinned by the principle of self-determination and aims to ensure that Aboriginal communities have a genuine voice in determining what services are delivered to their communities and how.
Aunty Jean Hands, Chairperson of NCARA said that this is the first project of its kind that NCARA has negotiated outside government.

“NCARA is grateful for this opportunity and looks forward to working with the eight respective law firms to support the work of NCARA, and participating Aboriginal regional alliances, through the provision of legal assistance without cost.

“LDM represents a major change in the way Aboriginal communities and government work together, allowing Aboriginal people to make decisions that directly impact on service design, planning and delivery and enables a staged hand over of decision making and accountability to the local level, ” Aunty Jean said.

Each of the firms involved has a strong pro bono culture and track record of acting for Aboriginal people. Last year collectively, the eight firms provided more than 150,000 hours of pro bono work.

The MOUs run for an initial terms of two years and consist of the following partnerships:

– Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly – Allens Linklaters
– Northern Regional Aboriginal Alliance – Ashurst
– Riverina-Murray Aboriginal Alliance – Clayton Utz
– Tribal Wave Regional Assembly – Colin Biggers & Paisley
– Barang Regional Alliance – Gilbert + Tobin
– Illawarra Wingecarribee Alliance Aboriginal Corporation – Hall & Wilcox
– Regional Aboriginal Development Alliance – HWL Ebsworth
– Three Rivers Regional Assembly – Sparke Helmore