Our Treaty Work
The Federation was involved in specifically engaging Victorian Traditional Owners through a series of Talking Treaty meetings and the final Engagement Report from those meetings can be can be read and downloaded here.
The Federation has produced 6 discussion papers on Treaty exploring different themes, see below.
In April 2016, the Victorian Government began consultations with Aboriginal Victorians at community forums around the state focused on self-determination and Treaty. Since that time there have been further consultations, gatherings and meetings, a working group and community assembly convened, and a final report handed to the government about the need for an Aboriginal Representative Body or assembly that is independent of parliament, and which can negotiate the framework and rules for a Treaty in Victoria.
While parts of the consultation process have undoubtedly had their flaws, we cannot discount the fact that the Victorian government has continued to work in good faith towards a Treaty with it’s First Peoples, a strong and proud people, who have never ceded their sovereignty. It is worth noting the tireless contribution and hard work of the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group which was formed in July 2016.
In February 2018, Jill Gallagher AO was appointed as Victoria’s Inaugural Treaty Commissioner. Jill led the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission until February 2020. Jill is a Gunditjmara woman who has dedicated to her life to advocating for Aboriginal Victorians. Her role was to continue to engage the Aboriginal Victorian community and form The Assembly.
On the 1st August 2018 the Advancing The Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians bill was made into law in the Victorian Parliament. This bill does not legislate the outcomes of treaty, nor who a Treaty can be made with, it is simply a stake in the ground that holds a future government accountable to the process and requires that the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria (The Assembly) is formed.
On 10th and 11th December 2019, The First Peoples Assembly convened for the first time in Victorian Parliament. The 31 Members elected a board and this Executive then elected Geraldine Atkinson and Marcus Stewart as Co-Chairs.
The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria is the independent and democratically elected body to represent Traditional Owners of Country and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Victoria.
Further details can be found on the Assembly website.
The Yoorrook Justice Commission is the first formal truth-telling process into historical and ongoing injustices experienced by First Peoples in Victoria.
Yoorrook will look into both past and ongoing injustices experienced by Traditional Owners and First Peoples in Victoria in all areas of life since colonisation.
Further details can be found on the Yoorrook website.
The Treaty Authority will be a nation-leading institution, drawing on international best practice but adapted for Victoria to ensure Aboriginal lore, law and cultural authority are observed and upheld.
It will be an ‘independent umpire’ to oversee negotiations between the Government and Aboriginal Victorians to ensure a fair treaty process that can realise positive outcomes for all Victorians. The Authority will the legal powers necessary to facilitate treaty negotiations and resolve any disputes between parties.