Treaty

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History made as first Aboriginal person addresses the Victorian Cabinet to Support Treaty

On Monday 7 August 2017, Taungurung Traditional Owner Mick Harding became the first Aboriginal person in history to address the Victorian Cabinet.

On this monumental occasion, Mr Harding who is Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group, presented an update to Cabinet on the work towards a Treaty with Victoria’s Traditional Owners.

It was a great honour to be the first Aboriginal person to address the Victorian Cabinet and provide an update on the Victorian treaty process and what it means to my people."

“Aa Aa Yuwang-ngal-in marram nganjin budambun-djerring, which means in Taungurung language that Aboriginal Victorians and the Government need an agreement together that is reciprocal.

Mick Harding Taungurung Traditional Owner

- Mick Harding,  Co-Chair of the Aboriginal Treaty Interim Working Group

Over the last 18 months Aboriginal Victoria has been working with the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group to undertake consultation with Aboriginal Victorians across the state.

Next step

The next step towards treaty is for  the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group to hold an assembly to design the representative body for Aboriginal Victorians.

Once it’s formed, constituted and then recognised by the Victorian Government, negotiation of a treaty can commence.

The Victorian Government recognises self-determination is an essential component of reconciliation and is working towards a treaty with Victoria’s Aboriginal community.

Treaty

In February 2016, Aboriginal people in Victoria called on the Victorian Government to negotiate a treaty.

Since then, work towards self-determination and treaty has been creating a new relationship between the Victorian Government and the Aboriginal community, a partnership that will empower Aboriginal communities to achieve long-term generational change and improved outcomes.

The first step on the pathway to treaty is for Aboriginal Victorians to decide who should represent the community and who can, and should, negotiate a treaty on their behalf.

This is such a significant period in time for us. An Aboriginal representative body is necessary to give a unified and strong voice for our mob. A treaty should deliver recognition of our unique position as this country's first people, repatriation for past wrongs and injustices, improve our lives today and allow us to establish the foundations for a strong and bright future for our future generations. It will enable us to build and celebrate our cultural strength.

- Jill Gallagher – Co-chair Aboriginal Treaty Interim Working Group

The Aboriginal Treaty Working Group was formed to consult the Aboriginal community on what it would like to see in a representative structure so the government has an equal partner to work with on the pathway to treaty.

Sixteen consultation events were held throughout Victoria in 2016 and a further ten in March 2017. Find out more at Have your say at community consultations.

Aboriginal Victorians were also called upon to become Treaty Circle Facilitators to help their communities have their say and drive the pathway to treaty.

Anyone unable to attend a consultation or Treaty Circle was invited to visit an Online Message Stick to have their say about representation.

So far, approximately 7,500 Aboriginal Victorians have been consulted and engaged directly, with many more made aware of the process through online and print media.

For information about consultation outcomes and next steps see results of consultations.