Engaged citizens — key initiatives

This objective supports and promotes full participation in strong, resilient and vibrant communities. It empowers citizens to participate in policymaking and service design. It ensures a holistic approach to social policy and service delivery.

DPC’s outcomes on the following key initiatives helped us achieve the ‘Engaged citizens’ strategic objective.

The Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2018–2023

Throughout 2020–21 DPC has continued to progress WoVG self-determination reforms in line with the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2018–2023 (VAAF). The VAAF is the government’s overarching framework for working with Aboriginal Victorians, organisations and the wider community to drive action so all Victorian Aboriginal people, families and communities are healthy, safe, resilient, thriving and living culturally rich lives.

DPC also developed the annual Victorian Government Aboriginal Affairs Report (VGAAR), which measures WoVG progress against the VAAF and fulfils a Victorian Budget Paper No. 3 commitment for DPC. The 2020 VGAAR was tabled in parliament on 24 June 2021. In addition to measuring progress against the 111 measures, for the first time, the 2020 VGAAR includes specific information on WoVG progress to enable self-determination, focusing on improvements on internal government processes, practices and policies. DPC also developed an online data dashboard to ensure VGAAR data is more transparent and accessible to the Aboriginal community and organisations.

DPC’s work to enable self-determination has included working across DPC to embed self-determination principles and enablers into their core policies, programs, business processes and delivery system. In relation to addressing trauma and supporting healing (one of the VAAF’s enablers for self-determination), DPC has supported the Stolen Generations Reparations Steering Committee to develop and deliver its report to government on the design and implementation of a Stolen Generations Reparations Package to address the trauma and suffering caused by the forced removal of Aboriginal children from their families and communities.

In 2020–21 DPC also led development of Victoria’s implementation plan for the National Agreement on Closing the Gap in partnership with the Aboriginal Executive Council, one of Victoria’s key implementation partners, to reflect the unique and diverse needs of Victoria’s Aboriginal communities.

This brings together existing and new actions that will contribute to Victoria achieving and exceeding targets under the National Agreement and the VAAF.

Advancing treaty with Aboriginal Victorians

Throughout 2020–21 DPC has worked in partnership with the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria (Assembly) — the first statewide, democratically elected representative body for Aboriginal Victorians in the state’s history — to progress negotiations on the treaty elements required to support future treaty negotiations.

DPC’s work to advance Victoria’s treaty process in 2020–21 has included:

  • progressing detailed discussions between the State and the Assembly on the treaty elements required under the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018 (Treaty Act), a Treaty Authority, a treaty negotiation framework and a dispute resolution process
  • agreeing between the State and Assembly on treaty conduct protocols and the first treaty element — an interim dispute resolution process — to guide the relationship between parties in this phase of the treaty process
  • supporting the Assembly to enhance its operations and engagement in the treaty process, and to engage with the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission
  • jointly developing the terms of reference for the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission with the Assembly, in line with the State’s commitment to address historical wrongs and ongoing injustices through the treaty process, as articulated in the Treaty Act
  • launching the Deadly & Proud public communications campaign in collaboration with the Assembly to further build collective understanding among all Victorians of the importance of the treaty process.

Establishing the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission

On 12 May 2021 the Governor of Victoria signed the letters patent to legally establish the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission and set its terms of reference.

Yoo-rrook is the Wemba Wemba / Wamba Wamba word for ‘truth’. The Commission will investigate historical and ongoing injustices perpetrated against First Peoples since colonisation by State and non-State entities, across all areas of social, political and economic life.

There are broadly three components of the Commission’s purpose: truth-telling and healing; truth-listening and educating the wider Victorian public; and making meaningful recommendations for reform. Truth-telling and reckoning with past injustices have been acknowledged as an integral part of Victoria’s treaty process.

In 2020–21, to establish the Commission and support its inquiry, DPC:

  • worked in partnership with the Assembly to establish the commission, including working together to develop the terms of reference
  • supported the appointment of the five Commissioners through an open and transparent nomination process:
    • Professor Eleanor Bourke (Chair)
    • Dr Wayne Atkinson
    • Ms Sue-Anne Hunter
    • Distinguished Professor Maggie Walter
    • Professor the Honourable Kevin Bell AM QC
  • established the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission Response and Engagement Branch within DPC to support the State’s engagement with the Commission.

Progress towards achieving the objective

The output performance measures that provide information on DPC’s progress in achieving the ‘Engaged citizens’ strategic objective are outlined below.

Objective indicator: Increased opportunities for participation by members of the Victorian community in the social, cultural, economic and democratic life of Victoria

Performance measure





Number of capacity-building activities provided for Traditional Owners to support the management and protection of Aboriginal cultural and intangible heritage and treaty readiness





Number of Aboriginal people participating in Local Aboriginal Networks





Further details on DPC’s 2020–21 performance against its output performance measures are covered on pages 43–57.