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IMG 3205 Brendan Crabb 1380X660

Burnet Institute is a proud partner and signatory to marra ngarrgoo, marra goorri, the Victorian Aboriginal Health, Medical and Wellbeing Research Accord, launched in Melbourne this week.

marra ngarrgoo, marra goorri will act as an official agreement between Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, the Victorian Government, and research organisations to promote ethical research practices and self-determination by empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have a greater voice in how research is conducted across the state.

Objectives of the Accord, which has been formally in development since 2021, but ultimately the product of 30 years of research and advocacy, include to:

  • Implement principles of self-determination by increasing rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research and participation 
  • Create equitable and trusting relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the health, medical and wellbeing research sector
  • Empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by actively contributing to research methodologies using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ways of knowing, being and doing, and 
  • Protect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander data, practices and systems provided during research using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led mechanisms.

Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation CEO Jill Gallagher told the launch, attended by Victorian Deputy Premier The Hon Ben Carroll and Health Minister The Hon Mary-Anne Thomas, the Accord will facilitate the capability and capacity for community members to drive their own research.

“Building research development pathways and training modules, supporting partnerships for two-way learning, and establishing a network of our researchers will facilitate community collaboration and mentoring,” Dr Gallagher said. 

“The Accord is about having Aboriginal people in the drivers’ seat, and the championing of ancient aboriginal cultures and knowledge to support thriving healthy communities.

“I would encourage all researchers in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing sector to join us on this vital journey to increasing ethical standards of research and in doing so, enhancing health and wellbeing outcomes for our people.”

Burnet Director and CEO Professor Brendan Crabb described marra ngarrgoo, marra goorri – which means ‘Community Knowledge, Community Health’ – as not just morally and ethically the right thing to do, but also the evidenced-based way to better research outcomes.

“To ensure work is more academically successful and successful in leading to outcomes, those communities who are the target of the research must want it in the first place, and feel safe with the work that’s happening,” Professor Crabb said.

“Wanted and safe because they’re leading it and because they’ve been not just consulted, but actually living and breathing it – we know this leads to better outcomes.”

Professor Crabb said an accreditation process for research partners is the natural next step to the effective development and implementation of the Accord.

“This will be a process that will not just bind us to the principles and targets linked to the Accord to ensure it comes to life, but that will make us a better organisations in every aspect of our work,” he said.

“I have no doubt that this will be warmly welcomed by the wider sector.”

Health Minister Thomas said she expects the Accord to guide Victoria’s health and medical research sector in building respectful research partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal researchers and communities.

Click here to find out more about marra ngarrgoo, marra goorri.