Assembly seeks to engage and unite communities and harness expertise as it prepares for Treaty negotiations

Sep 15, 2023

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria gathered on Dja Dja Wurrung Country this week to discuss what needs to happen before Treaty negotiations begin with the Victorian Government.

Assembly Co-Chair, Wamba Wamba, Yorta Yorta, Dhudhuroa and Dja Dja Wurrung woman, Ngarra Murray, said discussions about how to ensure the Assembly meets the standards to enter Statewide Treaty negotiations set out in the Treaty Negotiation Framework featured heavily in the agenda.

“We want to make sure all mob know they are welcome and will be part of the Treaty journey. It needs to be as inclusive as possible. There’s a lot of ideas and passion within Community and we also want to tap into the expertise of the various Aboriginal organisations that do so much great work for mob.”

Ngarra Murray, Assembly Co-Chair

Assembly Co-Chair, Gunditjmara man, Rueben Berg, said the meeting provided an opportunity for the Members to compare notes about the ideas mob have been sharing regarding the next steps on the Treaty journey and to also progress plans for the Self-Determination Fund which will be providing financial support to help Traditional Owners prepare for their Treaty negotiations.

“It’s an ambitious timeline, but we’re hopeful that we can start to deliver tangible Treaty outcomes during this term. There are some things we can move on pretty quickly while we get underway with the big picture efforts to put Aboriginal people in the driver’s seat on the issues that affect us.”

Rueben Berg, Assembly Co-Chair

At the meeting, the Assembly discussed what ongoing representation for First Peoples in Victoria could look like and agreed to the roll out of statewide and regional Community gatherings in the lead up to the beginning of statewide Treaty negotiations.

Assembly Members also heard from the Commissioners from the formal Truth-telling process that the Assembly negotiated in its first term – the Yoorrook Justice Commission. The discussions focused on Yoorrook’s recent publication of its report into Victoria’s Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems which outlined 46 recommendations for the Government and Assembly.

Members reported back about the engagement activities underway in each of the Assembly’s five regions and also held a live Q and A session with mob on social media.

Over the coming weeks, the Assembly will continue to participate in YES campaign activities to raise greater understanding about the referendum and encourage people to vote YES for a Voice to Parliament.

“We know from experience that the outcomes for First Peoples are always better when First Peoples are listened to. That’s why we support a Voice to Parliament and hope that everyone in Australia gets behind the Yes vote.”

Ngarra Murray, Assembly Co-Chair

Assembly Members also acknowledged the impact and hurt that the current debate of the Referendum is having on mob across Victoria and the country. Assembly Members stood together as a collective expressing their solidarity with mob during this time and discussed how the Assembly can continue to support the Aboriginal Community along the journey to Treaty.

Learn more about how the Assembly is supporting the campaign at

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