The journey towards Treaty for Victoria is progressing with major steps taken over the last 12 months, which are detailed in the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria’s 2022 Annual Report that was tabled in the Victorian Parliament last week.
Assembly Co-Chair and Bangerang and Wiradjuri Elder, Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, said each step in the Treaty process is being guided by the views of Community members.
“We wanted to make sure everyone could have a say about how the journey to Treaty should unfold and I’m proud our Members and team have made that possible. We hosted nearly 400 Community activities during the last 12 months and yarned in person or online with over 23,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria. That’s a deadly effort,” said Aunty Geraldine.
Key milestones this year included an election for a new Assembly Member to represent mob in the North East, the creation of additional pathways to recognition for Traditional Owners, and reaching a historic agreement with the Government to establish a Treaty Authority grounded in First Peoples’ culture, Lore and law to act as the independent umpire in negotiations and disputes.
“I believe every fair-minded person in Victoria wants to build a better future together as equals. But to do that we need to right the wrongs of the past and tackle the racism and discrimination that continues to hold our people back today. That’s what Treaty is all about,” said Aunty Geraldine.
Assembly Co-Chair and proud Nira illim bulluk man of the Taungurung Nation, Marcus Stewart, said Treaty is an opportunity to drive big picture reforms to put First Peoples in the driver’s seat when it comes to First Peoples’ affairs.
“The important conversations and meaningful reforms underway here in Victoria are showing the whole country that it is possible to forge a pathway to Treaty and negotiate a fairer deal for our people. Together we can right the wrongs of yesterday and dismantle the racist barriers and discrimination that Aboriginal people are still up against today, by making sure that First People have the freedom and power to make the decisions that affect our communities, culture and land,” said Mr Stewart.
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