“The strength and generosity of our member Traditional Owner corporations underpins our work and is rewarded by our achievements. It is their collective visions for self-determination of Country and Culture, that sets the agenda for the Federation to find government pathways to realise these visions. Without members setting this direction and strengthening the Federation’s collective voice, the work would fall to individual corporations or not be undertaken at all.
To be a Federation is to have allies, to come together. The very word comes from foederar (to ally) and foedus (league). Membership of the Federation is an essential way to raise our voices over shared concerns and celebrate our communities and achievements.
The work the Federation does to progress the ambitions of Traditional Owners across Victoria, through engagement and advocacy, provides a state-wide perspective.
Playing an active role in national policy development and assertion of a Victorian Traditional Owner perspective, discussing their concerns in broader considerations of First Nations rights and ambitions, policy and regulatory change, is an increasing focus for the Federation.”
-Cassandra Lewis, Chairperson
“Looking back over ten years of consistent, visionary work, it is clear that we have contributed to changing the regulatory and statutory landscape in which Victorian Traditional Owner corporations do their important work.
It is also clear that in advocating change on that level, change is also made to the everyday lives of Aboriginal peoples everywhere.
We have put cultural fire and cultural water on the agenda for government, sought greater protections for Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property, fought for a fair place in the expanding Native Foods and Botanicals industry, supported a drastic reconsideration of how our cultural heritage is approached at both state and national levels and worked to have economic development considered as more than just small business grants.
If we are serious about closing the gap, we must also be serious about nation building and Traditional Owners having real decision making on Country and in their communities. Now is not the time to pause but continue to critically examine the regulatory and statutory barriers to connection to, caring for and thriving on Country.
Let’s make sure that for the next ten years, Federation continues to be at the forefront of Aboriginal led advocacy and policy, putting Traditional Owners and their representative and inclusive corporations at the decision-making table.”
-Paul Paton, CEO