Helping Traditional Owner Groups Prepare For Treaty

The Andrews Labor Government is supporting all Traditional Owners in Victoria to prepare for treaty and to pave the path forwards for future treaty negotiations.

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gavin Jennings today announced a treaty readiness funding package of $13.6 million over two years, which will give equitable and flexible support to Traditional Owners in formally and non-formally recognised areas.

Victoria is leading the nation in negotiating treaty with its First Peoples as part of its pledge to progress self-determination.

From September 16, Aboriginal Victorians will vote in the historic election of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria. The Assembly will be the voice of Aboriginal people in Victoria as it works with the State to design a framework for future treaty negotiations.

The treaty readiness funding package recognises the diverse circumstances and aspirations of Traditional Owners in Victoria on their journey towards treaty and the need to provide equitable support to enable all Traditional Owners to participate in negotiations.

The investment will support Traditional Owners in regions without formal recognition to undertake research and map family groups and Traditional Owner structures.

Engagement officers will be employed across Victoria to provide on-the-ground support to Traditional Owners.

The package includes investment in a significant partnership between nation-building service providers including the Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations, First Nations Legal and Research Services, and Aboriginal Victoria’s Traditional Owner Programs. This partnership will ensure that Traditional Owners in formally and non-formally recognised areas can access core support and resources across three streams: foundational support, recognition support and treaty readiness support.

Traditional Owners will also be supported to pursue additional nation-building activities, as determined by them, to meet their specific needs and priorities. These activities could include healing and family reunification, cultural knowledge sharing, advice on formal recognition process, treaty education and policy development.

Immediate work is underway to build nation-building support capacity and recruit Engagement Officers. Funding will be available for Traditional Owners to access shortly. For further information visit aboriginalvictoria.vic.gov.au or for more information on the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria election, visit firstpeoplesvic.org.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gavin Jennings

“We are building a path towards treaty – a vital step forward for Victoria and a measure of healing for Aboriginal Victorians.”

“This path is complex – this funding means we can support and empower all Traditional Owners to be heard as we enter the next phase of the journey towards better opportunities for Aboriginal people and a more just Victoria.”