Jordan Edwards, Member for the South West region
Proud Gunditjmara, Arrernte and Waddawurrung
When recalling COVID’s impact on the Assembly’s first term, Jordan Edwards doesn’t mince his words.
“It’s been pretty crap for everyone so it has been tough,” he states matter-of-factly.
Mr Edwards says the nature of the Treaty work the Assembly is undertaking means there’s always a new challenge coming along.
“It’s definitely been a different process,” he explains. “I’m still learning. There’s been a lot of challenges internally and externally and hopefully we can nut them out, but definitely an achievement is getting the truth and justice
commission, the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission, up and running. That’s definitely a win, but there’s a lot more challenges that we need to overcome.”
Two matters, among many, he’d like to see significant progress made on in the near future, include alternative forms of recognition by the Assembly for Traditional Owners and the Treaty Negotiation Framework.
“Hopefully we’ll get these reserve seats up in the next couple of meetings and hopefully we can get a framework out that our Community can look over and say yay or nay,” he says. “Those are some of the things. There’s a lot more though.”
Mr Edwards is encouraging the Aboriginal Community to learn as much about Treaty as they can so they can participate in the process, which he says will help the Assembly make good decisions.
“Educate yourselves on the process, both sides of the process, so we can get a full understanding of where people are coming from and we’re all on the same page,” he explains.
He also wants the non-Indigenous Community to immerse themselves in the process so they can appreciate how it will improve the state.
“Read up and study what this process is and what the outcomes could potentially be,” he suggests.
“That way we can get the full scope on where it can go and where it can land.
“Educate yourselves. We’re here. Ask as many questions as possible, but educate yourselves and look at other countries and see what they’ve done and see the best outcomes of what they’ve achieved.”