The year ahead on the journey to Treaty

Jan 15, 2024

A message from the Co-chairs of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria

Hey mob!

Hope you got some quality down time over the summer break, because we’ve got a giant year ahead of us on the journey to Treaty in Victoria!

When it comes to making decisions about Aboriginal communities, the experts are Aboriginal people.

That’s why we want Treaty to directly empower Aboriginal communities so they can implement solutions at a local level.

The First Peoples’ Assembly has created a framework for Traditional Owners across Victoria to negotiate Treaties that reflect aspirations and priorities specific to their areas.

The Self-Determination Fund is now up and running to provide financial assistance to Traditional Owner groups that want to start preparing.

Meanwhile, the Assembly is preparing to enter negotiations with the Government of Victoria to create a statewide Treaty – this will cover ‘big picture’ reforms to implement systemic change that will deliver better outcomes across areas such as education, health and justice.

The newly formed Treaty Authority will serve as the independent umpire during the negotiations.

In the next few months, we’ve got some big decisions to make and the Assembly will continue to bring our communities together so we can keep yarning and start to decide what priorities the Assembly should focus on during the first round of negotiations.

Nothing is off the table, so we want everyone to think big and we need to keep hearing your ideas!

A few key issues have already emerged from the yarns so far and will be fleshed out further at upcoming meetings and Community gatherings and Assembly Meetings.

The priorities for the first talks with the Government are likely to include topics such as:

  • Representation – How can we make the Assembly a permanent representative body for First Peoples in and from Victoria and what shape, powers, and scope should it have?
  • Decision-making powers – We think decisions about First Peoples communities, culture and land should be made by First Peoples, not Government, so we need to agree on a process and timetable for transferring power from Government to Community.
  • Transformation of the justice and child protection systems – The Yoorrook Justice Commission is making crucial recommendations and we need to make sure they are implemented in a reasonable timeline.

We also know having our cultures and languages respected is very important to Community and making sure our young mob can grow up with pride and be strong in culture. So we want to hear ideas about other early negotiation topics like shared celebrations and implementation of dual language naming of places.

There’s a lot of work to be done, with support and guidance from First Peoples right across Victoria, we know we’ll make great progress in 2024.

Thanks for being part of the journey and remember – we need all mob to know they are welcome to join in.

Together we’re stronger. So make sure you encourage your friends and family to enrol with the Assembly.

If you’re looking for help to have the conversations, we’ve created this journey overview which might be helpful as it lists some of the work done to date and the next steps on the journey.

And of course, our engagement team and Assembly Members are on standby to have a yarn or catch up one-on-one if you have any questions or want to get more involved.

Thanks again and speak soon.


Rueben Berg

Co-chair of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria


Ngarra Murray

Co-chair of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria

PS – Tickets for Treaty Day Out are now available and are free for mob enrolled with the Assembly. It’s another deadly lineup and always a fun day to come together and celebrate the progress we’re making on the journey to Treaty. Hope to see you there!