After a series of Self-determination Forums with Victorian Traditional Owners throughout 2016, the Victorian Government committed to exploring Treaty. An Aboriginal Treaty Working Group was established in 2016, and Aunty Jill Gallagher AO, Gunditjmara woman, was appointed as the independent Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner in 2017.
The Victorian Parliament passed the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act in June 2018. This contained the legal power to establish an elected First Peoples representative body - The First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria. The current First Peoples' Assembly representatives were elected between September - October 2019.
On Tuesday 16 August, the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria announced this significant achievement, drawing applause from MPs and members of the public gallery.
Assembly co-chair Marcus Stewart said the authority is the first of its kind in Australia and brings together aspects of other treaty commissions from New Zealand and the Canadian region of British Columbia.
The Treaty Authority will now work towards a self-determination fund for First Nations communities in Victoria to support representatives to enter negotiations with the government on an "equal" footing, while also empowering them to build wealth and greater capacity for future generations.
Reconciliation Victoria believes Treaty will be the most significant step towards self-determination ever taken in Victoria and that Treaty possibilities will strengthen reconciliation pathways and progress.
Read the Treaty Authority Bill
Throughout 2018 the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission launched Treaty community roadshows across Victoria to engage and inform Aboriginal communities about the Treaty process to date. Reconciliation Victoria partnered with the Commission in June 2018 to engage and inform non-Aboriginal communities, building the capacity and understanding of local government, local reconciliation supporters and the general public of the various roles they can play to support Treaty.
The non-Aboriginal community roadshows visited the following regions:
- Grampians-Mallee (Ballarat, Horsham, Mildura, Swan Hill)
- Loddon-Hume (Bendigo, Echuca, Shepparton, Wodonga, Wangaratta)
- Gippsland (Drouin, Morwell)
For a more detailed report about the Treaty Roadshows, please click here
Reconciliation Victoria continues to support local and statewide conversations with non-Aboriginal communities as momentum builds for Treaty. Following on from the first phase of our Treaty Engagement Project, the second phase of our work involves developing resources to encourage and support deeper local conversations with the non-Aboriginal community about Treaty in Victoria around the State.
As part of this work, we have supported local facilitators to host Local Treaty Conversations across metro Victoria. These local conversations have been supported by Session Resources and Small Grants to cover expenses. Reconciliation Victoria’s Treaty Engagement Project has had a strong response, with the first of our Local Treaty Conversations run by Banyule and Darebin Councils having attracted over 200 people and broadcast live by 3KND.
In 2021/22, Reconciliation Victoria developed a series of Treaty Toolkits as guides to engaging with and supporting Treaty in Victoria. Three Toolkits were produced for Local Government, Community Organisations and Schools and Early Learning Centres. The toolkits can be accessed here.
Learn more about the Treaty Negotiation Framework with Member for the Metropolitan region, Gunditjmara man Rueben Berg.