The Andrews Labor Government is working towards self-determination for Aboriginal people.
Our engagement with Victorian Aboriginals and the recent debate around constitutional recognition has restarted the issue of treaty in Victoria and it is a subject we are determined to resolve.
It is clear that Victorian Aboriginals want treaty considered and discussed as it is integral to reconciliation and acknowledging the generations of harm that arose from the way European peoples established their society in this land.
As we work on issues of self-determination and treaty, we need to make it clear that these things can co-exist with the current range of agreements made with Victorian Aboriginals and should not distract from the national debate on constitutional recognition and reconciliation between the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community.
This process has to start with Aboriginal Victorians. We will be hosting four regional community forums around the state culminating in a two day meeting during Reconciliation week in Melbourne. After these forums, the Government will consider next steps.
The forums will have a common agenda, attendees will be provided with independent background information about treaty, constitutional recognition and establishing a representative Aboriginal structure.
Attendees will be asked to discuss these key issues:
What does successful self-determination look like
Fundamental principles for a treaty
Relationship between constitutional recognition and Treaty
Creation of a representative Aboriginal structure
Since this issue arose at an open forum earlier this year, there has been a lot of debate about what would be in a treaty, it is therefore important to say that the contents of a treaty can’t be decided by the Government alone, they have to arise from a co-operative process with Victorian Aboriginals.
This also means that the current range of agreement making in Victoria, for instance Traditional Owner Settlements, must progress as real reconciliation will only be achieved through ongoing acknowledgment and engagement.
I look forward to working with and listening to Aboriginal Victorians. Further details and information will be available at http://consult.aboriginalvictoria.vic.gov.au/
The forums will be held at:
Monday, 18 April, Mildura, Quality Hotel Mildura Grand
Friday, 29 April, Horsham, Grains Innovation Park
Tuesday, 3 May, Shepparton, Eastbank Centre (Council building)
Tuesday, 10 May, Bairnsdale, Bairnsdale RSL
Thursday 26 and Friday 27 May, Melbourne, Location TBC