On Monday 4 July, as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags went up around the country for NAIDOC Week, the Yoorrook Justice Commission released their interim report marking the completion of the first stage of their historic truth-telling mandate.
The Yoorrook report provides an update on the Commission’s progress to date, its approach for analysing material, and the next steps and path forward.
The report provides a detailed update to First Peoples’ communities across Victoria, as well as the broader public, government, and the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.
The report details community engagement conducted with Elders across Victoria through yarning circles and wurrek tyerrang (hearings) and sets out the next steps for the Yoorrook Commission, including the primary areas of focus shaped by Elder’s voices and the principles that underpin how Yoorrook will work.
In the introduction to the report, Yoorrook Chair and Commissioner, Professor Eleanor Bourke, invites ‘all Victorians to support Yoorrook and participate in our work. Together we will work towards truth, understanding and transformation’.
The Yoorrook Justice Commission, the first of its kind in Australia, was established in June 2021. As the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria began its work with the Victorian government to develop the foundations for treaty, it determined that without truth, there can be no treaty and called on the government to establish a truth and justice process.
The next phase of the Yoorrook inquiry will produce a second report that will make recommendations for consideration in treaty negotiations with the state government.
The work of the Commission has received state government support, with Minister for Treaty and First Peoples Gabrielle Williams stating: “as the nation’s first formal truth-telling process, the work of the Commission will play an important role in paving the way for treaty and a fairer, more just future for all Victorians.”
Read the report.
Image: Yoorrook’s guiding values and goals. Artwork by Dixon Patten