Culture and heritage

Aboriginal cultural heritage

The Strengthening Aboriginal Community Wellbeing Toolkit

The NSW Minister for the Environment Robyn Parker officially launched the Strengthening Aboriginal Wellbeing Toolkit on 14 March 2012. The Toolkit is a software-based support tool designed to help Aboriginal community groups to assess their current level of wellbeing and develop goals to improve wellbeing.

This Toolkit has been developed by the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH), in partnership with Aboriginal Affairs NSW, and has involved stakeholder and community engagement. It provides a way to systematically consider a broad range of social, economic, environmental, cultural, governance and service delivery issues that are critically important to strengthening Aboriginal community wellbeing.

How does the Toolkit work?

The Toolkit guides Aboriginal community groups step-by-step through three stages: 

  1. assessment - understanding the community's strengths, services available and needs by working through a detailed self-assessment
  2. preparing for negotiation - setting goals and priorities
  3. planning together - working with service providers and other partners to strengthen the community's wellbeing.

The Toolkit provides a report at the end of each stage. These reports can than become the basis for developing a community action plan.

Recording the community's stories

One of the exciting things about the Toolkit is its potential to facilitate and record important discussions and stories. Stories and different points of views can be recorded in the community's own words.

The Toolkit helps communities to focus on their strengths, and recognises factors that are specific to, and essential for, Aboriginal community wellbeing such as having a strong sense of cultural identity and access to Country. Importantly, the Toolkit also focuses on community perceptions and gives communities a strong say in determining what is right for them.

Empowering communities to make decisions about their future needs

As a leading agency in Country, Culture and Heritage in NSW, the NSW Government's Office of Environment and Heritage recognises that Aboriginal people’s wellbeing is closely linked to their sense of cultural identity and access to Country.

OEH has designed the Toolkit based on the factors that Aboriginal communities have told us are critical to their wellbeing. The Toolkit ensures that Country, culture and heritage are recognised as equally as important as having access to a range of services and infrastructure. 

Aboriginal communities have told us how important it is for them to have an opportunity to tell their own stories in their own voices and to assess for themselves their own state of wellbeing. The Toolkit is intended to enable Aboriginal communities to assess their own needs and set their own priorities and goals when planning for the future and working in partnership with government.

Where do you get the Toolkit?

Additional information can be found in the accompanying brochure (20120261WellbeingToolkit.pdf, 145KB). The Toolkit software is available on CD. To obtain a copy of the CD contact the OEH Country, Culture and Heritage Division on (02) 9585 6453 or send an email to Alternatively, to register your interest in receiving the Toolkit please complete the registration form here.


Page last updated: 11 April 2012