In a Victorian first, the property title held by the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs over the Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative has been lifted and full control of the Cooperative’s assets has been returned to the local Aboriginal community.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins made the announcement today at a community event held in Bendigo.
The removal of the first mortgage will give the Cooperative full control of its assets and to further develop the strong Aboriginal community in the Bendigo region.
In Victoria, there are 59 property titles owned by 30 Aboriginal organisations over which the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs holds a first mortgage.
The requirement for a first mortgage was a condition unique to Aboriginal organisations and left them with unnecessary red tape preventing them from delivering the best services that they could.
As an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation, the Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative was established in 2001 and provides health and social welfare services to the Dja Dja Wurrung community and Aboriginal residents living in and around Bendigo.
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins
“Giving Aboriginal organisations their land titles allows them to control and plan for their own future. This is self-determination in action.”
“For too long the Government has been the decision maker on issues impacting the Aboriginal community. We’re giving Aboriginal organisations the independence and infrastructure to grow and flourish.”
Quote attributable CEO of Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative Raylene Harradine
“We will now have full control of our assets and infrastructure, allowing us to build a stronger future and make decisions to further support the 2,000 Aboriginal community members we service in the Bendigo region.”