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Agreement-making and participation in decision-making enhances the authority of Traditional Owner Corporations on behalf of their communities.

We support Treaty for Victorian Traditional Owners.


Since 2016, the Victorian Government has actively pursued a treaty or treaties with Victorian Traditional Owners. The Federation has been involved in this process since the beginning, engaging with Traditional Owner groups to reflect a powerful collective voice to government.

Photo: Possum pelt cloak inscribed with art, messages and sentiments from 288 Aboriginal people across Victoria, Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission.

In 2018, the Federation was engaged to support the work of the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission by holding meetings to engage, inform and empower Victorian Traditional Owners to progress ‘treaty-readiness’ among all Traditional Owner groups.

Between August 2018 and July 2019 the Federation held 29 meetings with 397 Traditional Owner participants across Victoria. The engagement revealed a real enthusiasm for treaty but considerable confusion about the process.

The Federation’s final engagement report identified:

  • Nine key issues drawn from the questions and issues raised during the engagement process
  • A summary of Traditional Owner ambitions for treaty
  • Factors that impacted on engagement
  • A summary table of activities/meetings undertaken.

In November 2018 the Federation contributed a submission on the Treaty Advancement Commission’s proposed Aboriginal Representative Body model.

In 2020, the Federation developed six discussion papers outlining the foundations and potential scope for a comprehensive treaty model for Victoria.

As those papers finished: “It ultimately falls to all Aboriginal Victorians and Traditional Owners to set the path for Treaty.”

Discussion papers
  1. Understanding the Landscape: The Foundations and Scope of a Victorian Treaty
  2. Sovereignty in the Victorian Context
  3. UNDRIP and Enshrining Aboriginal Rights
  4. Aboriginal Control of Aboriginal Affairs: An Aboriginal Parliament and Public Service
  5. A Framework for Traditional Owner Treaties: Lessons from the Settlement Act
  6. A Comprehensive Treaty Model for Victoria

The Yoorrook Justice Commission is the first formal truth-telling process into historical and ongoing injustices experienced by First Peoples in Victoria since colonisation.

Established in 2021, it will deliver its final report in 2025 – establishing an official public record of the impact of colonisation on First Peoples in Victoria.

Yoorook’s findings are expected to inform treaty negotiations.

The Federation has contributed written submissions and testimony to Yoorrook’s 2023-24 inquiries into land injustice and economic prosperity.