About the Aboriginal Reference Group 

Given the over-representation of Aboriginal people within the NSW custodial system and forensic environment, JH&FMHN recognises the importance of Aboriginal community engagement and governance for Aboriginal research. In non-custodial and forensic environments, researchers are expected to engage with Aboriginal organisations in each stage of the research process.  While there are no specific Aboriginal organisations operating within the custodial or forensic environments, the need for engagement with Aboriginal communities remains. As a result, the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) was consulted and an agreement for an alternate engagement process for research being conducted within the custodial and forensic environment was reached whereby an Aboriginal Reference Group (ARG) was established to review research proposals for endorsement prior to submission to the AH&MRC Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). 

The ARG aims to:   

  • Make sure that the research proposals contain reference to appropriate design, implementation, reporting and results dissemination that ensures no harm to Aboriginal people with results that may benefit Aboriginal people 
  • Ensure researchers use culturally appropriate research practices and demonstrate an understanding of the values of Aboriginal people in the development of the research proposal and, where required, provide education to researchers as part of this process
  • Advise on appropriate communications to make results and reports accessible to Aboriginal communities 
  • Provide advice on publications and co-authorship where appropriate 
  • Provide advice on maximising the immediate benefits of research for Aboriginal people (for example where possible employing Aboriginal people to work on the research project, workshops to feedback the finding to participants) including practical and policy impact of the research 
  • Provide advice on issues which may benefit from further exploration and future work.

ARG Application

To submit an application to the ARG, please complete the attached forms (listed below) and email them to arg@justicehealth.nsw.gov.au

  • Research Endorsement Process (REP) Form and/or Protocol (this can be the REP Form if completed)
  • AH&MRC Coversheet (ARG uses the same coversheet as AH&MRC to avoid duplication)
  • AH&MRC Ethics Proposal Criteria (these criteria are assessed by the ARG in preparation for submission to the AH&MRC HREC)


2020 ARG Meeting Dates  

Closing Date for Applications (COB)

Meeting Date

Monday 27th January

Thursday 13th February

Monday 2nd March

Thursday 19th March

Monday 6th April

Thursday 23rd April

Monday 4th May

Thursday 21st May

Monday 1st June

Thursday 18th June

Monday 6th July

Thursday 23rd July

Monday 3rd August

Thursday 20th August

Monday 7th September

Thursday 24th September

Monday 5th October

Thursday 22nd October

Monday 2nd November

Thursday 19th November

Monday 30th November

Thursday 17th December


AH&MRC Ethics Application:

The next step in the process is lodging an application with the Aboriginal Health & Medical Research Council (AH&MRC) Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). You will be required to submit: 

  • A letter of endorsement from the ARG
  • AH&MRC Coversheet
  • AH&MRC Ethics Proposal Criteria
  • A copy of your the Human Research Ethics Application (HREA)
  • A copy of letters of approval from other HRECs

Please go to the AH&MRC website for specific details: http://www.ahmrc.org.au/ethics.html 

Relevant documents (listed below) have been attached for your convenience:

If you have any additional questions please contact the ARG Project Officer on arg@justicehealth.nsw.gov.au