Assembly Update — February 2021


We hope this newsletter finds you well, and that you’re staying safe and connected with loved ones during lockdown. We’ve been through this before and can get through this again!

Last week saw historic steps towards Treaty for Victoria with the signing of the Dispute Resolution Process with the State — the first building block for Treaty. With our rights enshrined, now begins the work of creating the Treaty Negotiation Framework.

This month also saw the launch of Deadly & Proud, a campaign featuring 21 Aboriginal storytellers from across the State who share their stories of strength, resilience and community — including our historic journey towards Treaty and Truth-telling in Victoria. We are proud of our involvement in this campaign, and hope that all people of Victoria will be moved by the incredible storytellers and walk with us on our journey towards a better future for all.

We’d like to thank you for your continued support, and look forward to sharing our progress towards Treaty, as well as opportunities to be involved, through this newsletter.

Ngun godjin (regards),

Geraldine Atkinson and Marcus Stewart

Co-Chairs First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria

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Signing of the Dispute Resolution Process

On Monday 8 February, we made historic steps towards Treaty through the signing of the Dispute Resolution Process with the State.

The Dispute Resolution Process is the first building block for Treaty required under the Act, and will guide how we resolve any disputes with the State as we continue with our negotiations to build the Treaty architecture.

The Process recognises the challenging and unprecedented nature of the work we are doing with the State in laying the framework for Treaties. It will ensure our future negotiations are done in good faith, on an equal playing field and honouring Aboriginal ways of doing business.


Deadly & Proud campaign launch

Deadly & Proud features Aboriginal storytellers from across the state who share their stories of pride, strength and resilience – including our Co-Chair

Marcus Stewart and Assembly Members Aunty Muriel Bamblett and Trent Nelson.

Deadly & Proud puts Aboriginal stories front and centre, and opens the door for our fellow Victorians to come with us on the historic journey to Treaty and Truth-telling.


Update on designing a truth and justice process for Victoria

In October we asked community what they want from a Truth-telling process, which has informed our advocacy. We heard that the Aboriginal community wants a process that:

  • leads to real change and action
  • identifies the links between historical wrongs to ongoing disadvantage and injustice and intergenerational trauma
  • recognises the resilience and strength of the Aboriginal community
  • establishes a public record of wrongs since the colonisation of the State of Victoria
  • calls out the importance of First Peoples’ rights under international law
  • builds an understanding of the Victorian community and provides the foundations for a new relationship with the Aboriginal community
  • respects the sovereignty of the Aboriginal communities’ knowledge and stories.

We were guided by this advice and are advocating for a truth and justice body to look at both historical and ongoing injustices, including a wide range of events, systems, policies and experiences since colonisation began.

We still want to hear from community! We are seeking community views to make sure the future truth and justice body understand the views and expectations communities have. Find out more and have your say via the button below.


Community consultation: Proposed Model on Additional Pathways to Reserved Seating on the Assembly

For the last six months the Assembly has consulted with Traditional Owner groups and Aboriginal people living in Victoria on the establishment of additional pathways to Assembly reserved seating.

We have developed a Proposed Model for Additional Pathways to Assembly Reserved Seating — and we’re seeking community views to strengthen and inform this work.

Have your say by 18 February 2021 and help us strengthen community voices within the Treaty process!


Commemorating the anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations

Saturday 13 February marked the 13th anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations. On this day, we pay tribute to the Stolen Generations and their families, and reflect on the gross violations of their human rights at the hands of unjust government policies and practices.

Through commemorating this day, we recommit to never allowing this to happen again.

The apology, while a significant marker in our shared history, did not lead to the structural and systemic change that our people have long been calling for. 13 years on from the apology, our children are still being removed by the State at 16.1 times the rate of non-Aboriginal children in Victoria. We are still working towards healing and justice for Stolen Generations and their families, with the long overdue Redress Scheme announced last year a positive step in the right direction.

On the anniversary and every day, we stand with Stolen Generations and their families in their fight for justice. We acknowledge the strength and resilience of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and continue to work towards structural and systemic change through Treaty and Truth-telling, so that history is never again repeated.

Assembly Member Feature: Trent Nelson

Introducing Trent Nelson – a proud Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta man representing the North West region and the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation.

Trent has extensive experience working in land management with Parks Victoria managing the Dja Dja Wurrung Ranger Program and the revival of Djandak Wii (country fire) in central Victoria. Trent is now the Chairperson of the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and his role is to support and encourage his people to deliver their aspirations on country.

This is why Trent wanted to become a Member on the First Peoples’ Assembly, so he can support and lead conversations to create a better future for Dja Dja Wurrung people and the future generations.

“My passion and drive for what I do comes from my strong connections through our family, the old people that fought for our rights and our existence a long time ago.”

Trent Nelson is featured in Deadly & Proud sharing about the power of cultural burning — watch it here.


We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Victoria and pay our respect to them, their culture and their Elders past, present and future.