75 Victorian Traditional Owners confirmed as candidates for Treaty Elections

May 9, 2023

Seventy-five Traditional Owners of Country have been officially confirmed as candidates for the second term of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria – the state’s ‘Voice’ for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the journey to Treaty.

Inaugural Assembly Co-Chair, Bangerang and Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Geraldine Atkinson said she was proud that so many Traditional Owners had nominated to carry forward the work of many generations.

“Community right across this state have worked tirelessly to get us to the point we are now, with Treaty within our reach. Our Ancestors never ceded sovereignty of these lands and through Treaty we have a real opportunity to achieve self-determination.”

Aunty Geraldine Atkinson

In the upcoming term after the Elections, the Assembly will negotiate a statewide Treaty to tackle the big overarching statewide issues. These could include improving health, education, and justice, as well as establishing ways to ensure First Peoples have proper respect, recognition and meaningful decision-making power in Victoria. The Assembly will also help empower the diverse Traditional Owner groups in Victoria to negotiate Treaties in their areas that reflect specific aspirations and priorities.

“These elections are mob’s chance to choose who will sit across the table from the Victorian Government and represent our people in Treaty negotiations. So how strong Treaty is, how much it improves the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across this state, depends on mob getting involved with these Treaty Elections now.”

Aunty Geraldine Atkinson

Voting in the elections will run from 13 May to 3 June and statewide Treaty negotiations are due to begin before the end of the year. Mob will be able to vote in the Treaty Elections in person, online or through the post.

I encourage all eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria to register with the Assembly and vote for the candidates who will represent their values and priorities. Your vote matters.”

Aunty Geraldine Atkinson

In its first term, the Assembly worked to establish Australia’s first formal truth-telling process, the Yoorrook Justice Commission, and secured agreement on the three key pieces of Treaty-making architecture. These are the ‘ground rules’ set out in the Treaty Negotiation Framework, the independent ‘umpire’ for Treaty negotiations, the Treaty Authority, and the Self-Determination Fund. The Fund will support Traditional Owners to get Treaty-ready, as well as projects that build prosperity for generations to come.

Learn more about the 75 candidates standing and how to enrol and vote in the Assembly Elections at www.TreatyElections.org.

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