Premier’s acknowledgement of ongoing injustices & racism for First Peoples overdue, makes clear Treaty is chance for meaningful change

Apr 28, 2023

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria welcomes the Victorian Government’s belated formal acknowledgement that First Peoples in Victoria are experiencing ongoing racism and injustice and agrees that Treaty is an opportunity to reset the relationship and improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the state.

First Peoples’ Assembly Co-Chair and Bangerang and Wiradjuri Elder Aunty Geraldine Atkinson said that the Premier’s words simply acknowledged the reality for many First Peoples, yet noted the Premier’s acknowledgment was powerful given his unique platform.

“First Peoples right across this state live the experience of racism and injustice that the Premier has described, day in, day out. While of course this is not news to us and has been true since colonisation, I do welcome the Premier’s words.

“I hope this acknowledgement at last is cause for discussion and reflection amongst the broader Victorian population on the reality we face and how we need Treaty to finally address the harms of colonisation.”

Aunty Geraldine Atkinson

The Premier’s acknowledgement came in a letter to the Yoorrook Justice Commission, the organisation leading the nation’s first formal Truth-Telling process, which the Assembly negotiated the establishment of as part of the journey towards Treaty. In its submission to Yoorrook, the Victorian Government said that Treaty provided the opportunity for transformative change in the criminal justice and child protection systems.

“Treaty is our chance to really shake things up, to do things differently and actually improve the lives of our people in the areas of justice, housing, health, education and more.

“Aboriginal people are the experts on our own lives. If we want different outcomes, we need the freedom and the power to make the decisions on the issues that affect us, our culture and our communities and this is what Treaty is all about.”

Aunty Geraldine Atkinson

The Assembly will hold its elections from 13 May to 3 June, where all eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from or in Victoria can help choose who will negotiate a statewide Treaty with the Victorian Government.

Treaty is now within our reach in Victoria, but how strong Treaty will be is up to us mob. We need everyone to be getting involved, and right now this means registering with the Assembly to vote in our upcoming Assembly Elections.”

Aunty Geraldine Atkinson

Learn more about enrolling, voting and the candidates who have nominated in the Assembly Elections at

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