Building The Blocks of Cultural Competency in Melbourne's North West



This Toolkit is an initiative of the North West Metropolitan Region (NWMR) Koolin Balit Primary Care Partnership (PCP) Consortium comprising of:

- Inner North West Primary Care Partnership (INW PCP);

- HealthWest Primary Care Partnership;

- Hume Whittlesea Primary Care Partnership; and

- North East Primary Care Partnership (NEPCP). 

In this resource the term ‘cultural competency’ is used to describe the process of embedding policies and practices across health and human service organisations leading to culturally responsive and effective services for Aboriginal community members as a right.

Within this context cultural competency includes:

- improving attitudes, knowledge and understanding of the experiences of Aboriginal community members;

- developing an appreciation of the impact of dominant culture on Aboriginal people through past and ongoing practices of  colonisation;

- strengthening relationships with the local Aboriginal community;

- improving the coordination of services provided by mainstream organisations and Aboriginal community organisations to  better meet the health needs of Aboriginal people holistically;

- developing workforce policies and procedures to address barriers that Aboriginal people may experience to accessing and  sustaining employment; and

- developing monitoring mechanisms to ensure the maintenance of cultural competency standards.

The NWMR Koolin Balit PCP Consoritum Project is funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

Koolin Balit means healthy people in Boonwurrung language. Koolin Balit is the Victorian Government’s strategic direction for Aboriginal health from 2012 – 2022.

Please note that within this Toolkit the term ‘Aboriginal’ is used to refer to all Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.

The NWMR Koolin Balit PCP Consortium acknowledges the people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land in which our services operate. We pay our respect to their Elders – past, present and emerging.


The NWMR Koolin Balit PCP Consortium Project aims to support service providers committed to Closing the Health Gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people by providing resources and tools to promote the delivery of culturally informed and responsive services to the Aboriginal community, and to develop workforce capacity to employ and retain Aboriginal staff. In this way, as well as providing additional employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, service providers benefit from the particular skills, knowledge, and experience that Aboriginal people bring to the workplace. In addition, the employment of Aboriginal staff will address many of the barriers that Aboriginal people experience when accessing mainstream services, leading to better access and improved health outcomes.

The Toolkit provides a catalogue of resources that have been developed by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal organisations from across Australia. It provides a collection of tools that organisations can use to review their own policies and procedures for the purpose of providing better services to the Aboriginal community.

For further information about the NWMR Koolin Balit Consortium Project, please contact INW PCP Koolin Balit Coordinator, Don Stewart, Ph: 9398 2226 or email


It is important that this Toolkit meets the needs of our member agencies. It will be adapted and updated in response to feedback provided.  If you have used the Toolkit please take the time to complete our short Resources Feedback Survey.


The information contained in the Toolkit is provided by the NWMR Koolin Balit PCP Consortium and is for general information purposes only. While the information is current at the time of publication, subsequent changes to events may occur. Material in this Toolkit contains links to third party websites. The provision of a link should not be taken to mean that the NWMR Koolin Balit PCP Consortium, endorses, adopts, confirms, guarantees or approves of any product, service, material or any representations whatsoever made in those websites. Any reliance you place on the information provided is therefore at your own risk. In no event will the NWMR Koolin Balit PCP Consortium and its employees be responsible or liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or significant loss or damage, or any type loss or damage whatsoever, suffered by any person as the result of reliance on information contained in this Toolkit.