Reserved Seat holder representing Taungurung Land and Waters Council Aboriginal Corporation

Matthew Burns


Stick with us. If you’ve got questions to ask, it’s really important that you get in and engage with your representatives because people are there to help answer questions and hopefully provide support to you so I’d encourage that. 

We’ve got through such a heavy policy load and I think we’ve achieved some fantastic things, and I hope that that’s provided a platform for us to take through the next couple of years and make some progress. 

Member Updates

March 2024 — Meeting of Assembly at Lakes Entrance

Wawa I’m Matt Burns, I am a Taungurung man, and I’m the elected representative for the Taungurung people on the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.

Over the past few months, I have held meetings and conversations with Taungurung community supporting their understanding of the foundations of the Treaty process – i.e. The Self-Determination Fund, the Treaty Negotiation Framework and the Treaty Authority, and how these mechanisms work together.

In more recent discussions we have started to tease out what the difference might be between a Statewide Treaty and a Traditional Owner Treaty.

The engagement activities that have taken place include:

Taungurung Elders Meeting 22nd and 23rd of February 2024

Taungurung Quarterly Meeting 24th February

TLaWC Board Meeting 1st March 2024

*Each of these engagements had Treaty as a standing item for presentation/discussion.

Some insights include the variance in understanding of the Treaty process to date. It can be challenging to talk about the next stage of Treaty when some members of the Taungurung community are unclear on the foundations of the Treaty process. We have tried to overcome this by embedding significant papers and videos on the Treaty process in the Taungurung members portal so that members can get up to date at their own pace.

It is also clear that Taungurung Community are keen to start the process for what Treaty might be for the Taungurung Nation. Discussions at the above engagements included the Self-Determination Fund and the Phase 1 – Forming Treaty Aspirations funding available to Traditional Owner Groups. High level feedback was sought on the inputs required to enable an engaging and inclusive process for Taungurung to progress towards Treaty readiness.

TLaWC will be having conversations with trustees of the Self-Determination Fund in the coming month to support the construction of a clear plan for applications to the Self-Determination Fund.

Looking ahead also, the Taungurung community are keen to contribute their thoughts on what might make up priority negotiation points in a Statewide Treaty. Also, the commencement of fortnightly online yarns with community will occur with a view to having more regular conversations about Treaty in a casual setting.

Finally, I am continually humbled and honoured to perform this representative role for the Taungurung people and hope to ensure a positive and constructive pathway for Taungurung Community into the Treaty process.

Inaugural Speech