The Aboriginal Community Controlled Health sector in Australia has been described as a best practice example of the implementation of the right to self-determination as enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. By prioritizing the expression of Indigenous cultural values within a predominantly western health sector, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services shift the dynamics of power to centre Aboriginal knowledges, understandings and perspectives.

The effect, over time, has been to establish more equitable health services based on principles of self-determination, empowerment and coexistence. In this article, I examine more closely the role of Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services and the tensions that exist in embodying the principles of self-determination and the right to health at international law in the Australian health care context.