WA ACCO Peak Body Project Update

The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) is leading a project to establish a new Western Australian Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisation (ACCO) Peak Body.

Why a new Aboriginal Community-Controlled Peak Body?

The National Agreement on Closing the Gap (the National Agreement) requires governments to genuinely partner and share decision making with Aboriginal people and their communities to support self-determination and optimal wellbeing. Priority Reform Two of the National Agreement requires all governments and the Coalition of Peaks to build a strong and sustainable ACCO sector that delivers high quality services to meet the needs of Aboriginal people and their communities.

The National Agreement also considers that peak bodies to support and advocate on behalf of Aboriginal Community-Controlled Organisations are essential to a strong Aboriginal Community-Controlled service sector.

AHCWA is currently the only formal Aboriginal Community Controlled peak body in Western Australia. With funding from the WA Government, and with Aboriginal leadership at the centre, AHCWA is leading a project to establish a WA ACCO Peak Body. It is likely this new peak body will have a social services focus.


In order to progress the project, a subcommittee of the AHCWA Board, the AHCWA Social Services Committee, has been established comprising the following representatives:

      • Vicki O’Donnell (AHCWA Chairperson)
      • Deborah Woods (AHCWA Treasurer)
      • Ernie Hill (AHCWA Director – South West)
      • Preston Thomas (AHCWA Director – Central Desert)
      • June Councillor (AHCWA Director – Pilbara)
      • Raymond Christophers (AHCWA Director – Kimberley)
      • Gail Beck (Independent Representative)
      • Corina Martin (Independent Representative)
      • Marty Sibosado (Independent Representative)
      • Gordon Gray (Independent Representative)
      • Danny Brown (Independent Representative)

The Committee has met on four occasions so far to discuss actions required to progress the project.

To support the AHCWA Social Services Committee, the AHCWA Closing the Gap Social Services Team has been created, including Ali Meehan (Project Manager), Emma Doak (Secretariat Officer) and Dr Klaudia Shenton (Senior Policy Officer).

A mapping exercise of the WA ACCO sector has been undertaken by Mandy Gadsdon at Think Culture, giving an understanding of the expertise, service offerings and locations of ACCOs across WA. AHCWA also reached out to the majority of ACCOs identified in the mapping exercise to introduce the project, and to gauge their interest in the project or future membership of an ACCO Peak Body.

What’s next?

The WA ACCO mapping activity has provided a solid foundation for the development of tailored and targeted communications for the remainder of this year, as well as the opportunity to engage comprehensively with ACCOs and other stakeholders in the first half of 2022 through various consultations across WA.

AHCWA recognises the extensive experience you have in working with WA ACCOs, and hopes that together they can work towards establishing a new peak body, and a strong, resilient and innovative ACCO sector in WA into the future.


If you have any questions, contact Ali Meehan, on (08) 9227 1631.