Rueben Berg

Rueben Berg, Member for the Metropolitan region

Proud Gunditjmara

When COVID-19 arrived it forced everyone to reconsider their priorities and, if they could, to change the way they worked.

One of the Assembly’s Members to quickly embrace the change was Rueben Berg, who, in addition to Assembly-organised events, took to social media to engage his constituents as best he could.

“It’s been a whirlwind,” he explains. “We have been able to make some important decisions, but there is still a lot of work to do.

“The main focus has been to achieve some significant progress on the Treaty Negotiation Framework in terms of understanding the Community’s views, consolidating the Assembly’s views, and starting negotiations with the State on their views.”

The Framework, or the ground rules for negotiations will set out what a Treaty can include and who can negotiate it.

“We also need to yarn about the details that Community would like to see. What are the structural reforms that will improve the next generations’ lives? Do we want dedicated seats in the Victorian Parliament that Aboriginal people vote for, do we want our own Parliament for our people? Maybe we want both. Nothing is off the table, so let’s go for it.”

Mr Berg says he’s determined that the Treaty process will see real improvements for Aboriginal people and he wants his skills and experience to help make that happen.

“I wanted to bring my knowledge and understanding of how government works to make sure that our communities can get the best possible outcomes from the Treaty process,” he explained.

For that to happen though, he says Victoria’s Aboriginal community must also play its part.

“Get involved. We need to hear what your thoughts are on all Treaty-related matters. Discuss things with your own family and community and talk to your local Assembly representative,” he says.

And of the broader general public?

“Think about what you want Treaty to achieve and talk to your state government representative to make sure they know you support Treaty.”

Stay connected with Rueben on his Facebook page.

Inaugural speech