Australia’s first ever treaty legislation is now law with the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Bill 2018 passing Victorian Parliament this evening.
Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins hailed the passage of the legislation, which will see Victoria become the first state to enter into formal treaty negotiations with its Aboriginal people.
In line with the Uluru Statement, Treaty will help close the gap and improve the lives of all Aboriginal Victorians.
It is an opportunity for Victoria to recognise and celebrate the unique status, rights, cultures and histories of Aboriginal Victorians. It is also an opportunity for reconciliation and to heal the wounds of the past.
The Government has listened to Traditional Owners, clans and family groups across the state about aspirations for treaty or treaties.
The Bill is the culmination of the work of more than 7,500 Aboriginal community members who have been engaged in work to further the treaty process in Victoria.
Consistent with the policy of self-determination, the Bill does not specify who Treaty is with or what it will be about. Rather it requires an independent Aboriginal Representative Body and the Victorian Government to work in partnership to facilitate future treaty negotiations.
The Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner Jill Gallagher AO will continue working with Victorian Traditional Owners, Elders and young people to establish a democratically-elected Aboriginal Representative Body.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins
“Victoria will be the first state in Australia to negotiate Treaty with its first peoples. It’s a historic moment in the history of our state and our country, and the start of our journey to Treaty.”
“Treaty will have benefits for all Victorians – promoting reconciliation, fostering shared pride in Aboriginal culture and helping to heal the wounds of the past.”
“Aboriginal Victorians will continue to be at the centre of this process, as we work towards establishing the Aboriginal Representative Body.”