Policy

pattern

Strong culture

The Victorian Government is dedicated to ensuring that the right processes and structures are in place to support Aboriginal Victorians as they maintain a strong connection to country, culture and community.

Headline indicator 12: Strengthen Aboriginal culture and support Aboriginal people’s engagement with community and society

Measure: Participation by Aboriginal people in community related arrangements and events.

Local Aboriginal Networks

In Victoria, Local Aboriginal Networks (LANs) provide a forum to bring local Aboriginal communities together to set priorities, develop community plans and build relationships.

As of January 2018, 2,703 Aboriginal Victorians participate in LANs across Victoria, exceeding the 2017/18 target of 2,600.

As of January 2018, 2,703 Aboriginal Victorians participate in LANs across Victoria, exceeding the 2017/18 target of 2,600. Measure: The proportion of Aboriginal people who felt that there are opportunities for them to have a real say on issues which are important to them.

Aboriginal-led reform strategies

During 2017-18, the Victorian Government has worked with Victorian Aboriginal communities to develop key policies and strategies to support Aboriginal self-determination. These include:

Treaty in Victoria

The treaty process has provided an opportunity for government to hear directly from the Victorian Aboriginal community on how they can best work together on an agreement that represents the interests and rights of the Victorian Aboriginal community. 

Throughout 2016 and 2017, more than 7,500 Aboriginal community members across Victoria were engaged through regional community consultations and statewide forums on the treaty process.

Led by the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group, Aboriginal Victorians came together at these events to help shape the design of the Aboriginal Representative Body, which will represent the wider Victorian Aboriginal community for the purpose of establishing elements necessary to support future treaty negotiations.

In January 2018, the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission was established.

In June 2018, Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation - Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018 - passed the Victorian Parliament. The Act provides a roadmap for how government will work in partnership with the Aboriginal Representative Body to establish elements necessary to support future treaty negotiations.

Measure: The rate of access by Aboriginal Victorians to their traditional lands.

Traditional Owner Settlement Act

The Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (TOS Act) provides the legislative framework through which the Victorian Government recognises Traditional Owners and their defined legal rights in Crown land.

There are currently four Traditional Owner groups negotiating new settlements under the TOS Act, including the Taungurung people, Gunditjmara people, Wotjobaluk people and the Eastern Maar people. Two Traditional Owner groups are also seeking recognition via native title proceedings in the Federal Court.

Aboriginal Heritage Act

The Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 provides a legislative framework for protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage and facilitating sustainable land use and development. The Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (the Council) makes decisions about applications by Victorian Traditional Owner groups to be appointed as Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs).

There are currently 11 appointed RAPs which cover 62.5% of Victoria’s total land area.

In July 2017, the Council appointed the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation as a RAP for an area south east of Melbourne, including the Mornington Peninsula.

In May 2017, the Council approved in part an application from Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation to be re-appointed as a RAP for a large area of Gippsland.

Measure: Options for all Victorians to be engaged with Aboriginal culture.

Cultural protection in Victoria

In January 2018, the Commonwealth Government submitted the Budj Bim Cultural Landscape World Heritage nomination to the World Heritage Centre. This nomination was prepared by the Victorian Government in partnership with the Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation and the Commonwealth Government.

There is rich evidence that the landscape, on Gunditjmara country in the state’s south-west, is of international significance for its unique aquaculture system of eel farming.

If inscribed, Budj Bim would be the first World Heritage site in Australia recognised solely for Aboriginal cultural values.

In March 2018, the World Heritage Centre formally accepted the nomination for assessment. Subject to the assessment, a recommendation will be made to the World Heritage Committee in mid-2019.

Victorian Government reform

Aboriginal Victorians’ connection to country, culture and community is of critical importance. Together, this connection has the power to build resilience, strengthen communities and forge a sense of identity and belonging.

The Victorian Government is dedicated to ensuring that the right processes and structures are in place to support Aboriginal Victorians as they maintain a strong connection to country, culture and community.

We are committed to ensuring that the Victorian treaty process proceeds in genuine partnership with Aboriginal Victorians. The Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner is currently working with Aboriginal communities across Victoria to establish an Aboriginal Representative Body (ARB). The ARB will work with government to establish the entities, rules and resource base to facilitate future treaty negotiations. Expected to be established by 1 July 2019, elected representatives to the ARB will be Traditional Owners. We will work with the ARB to address injustices, promote the fundamental rights of Aboriginal people, and acknowledge the importance of culture to Aboriginal identity.

We acknowledge the work of the following government partners in administering and delivering this work:

  • the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group
  • the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council which administers the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
  • Department of Justice and Regulation’s Native Title Unit which administers the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010
  • Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Community Programs team which delivers on the Local Aboriginal Networks Five Year Plan 2016-2020 and supports the ongoing operation of 39 LANs across Victoria.