Creating prosperity for Mob and getting Treaty ready
Treaty must bridge the economic divide caused by dispossession. That is why as part of the journey to Treaty, the Assembly has established a First Peoples controlled and managed Self-Determination Fund.
The Self-Determination Fund will do two key things:
- To begin with, it will enable Traditional Owners to enter Treaty negotiations with the Government on a more level playing field.
- Further down the track, it will empower our communities to build capacity, wealth and greater prosperity for future generations.
A shared resource
Alongside the Assembly’s negotiation of a Statewide Treaty which will cover ‘big picture’ reforms, the Assembly will also empower Traditional Owner groups to negotiate Treaties that reflect aspirations and priorities specific to their areas.
Traditional Owners starting to think about how they want to prepare for Treaty negotiations should read the Funding Guidelines to learn what support may be available.
Phase 1 will provide funding of up to $200,000 to Traditional Owner Groups to support the group to come together and form their aspirations for Treaty. The Trustee will take an inclusive and flexible approach to the definition of Traditional Owner Group.
Phase 2 will provide additional funding to eligible Traditional Owner Groups, to undertake a range of activities to meet the Minimum Standards under the Treaty Negotiation Framework and prepare to enter negotiations for a Traditional Owner Treaty.
Some groups might look at using the funding to employ a Treaty Manager or Organiser to have the yarns with their Community and start developing cultural governance structures and decision-making processes. Other groups might choose to consider land surveying or legal support or completely different ideas.
We’re not taking a ‘a one size fits all’ approach – this is your journey! So, the Fund allows for a fair bit of flexibility on your Treaty journey.
Essentially, this round of funding is to help cover the practical needs for preparation work as well as help provide time and space for communities to think about what they want Treaty to deliver and start making their plans.
More information to apply for support, visit the Self-Determination Fund website and talk to Fund’s staff team for help.
Funding Guidelines – Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Self Determination Fund for?
The Self-Determination Fund has been created to help Traditional Owners of Country enter Treaty negotiations with the Government on a more level playing field.
Further down the track, the Fund will empower our communities to build capacity, wealth and greater prosperity now and for future generations.
What funding is available?
There will be five phases for funding available from the Fund. From 15 December 2023, Traditional Owners can apply for the first two phases:
Phase 1 – Forming Treaty Aspirations. Groups can receive $100,000 in the first instance during this phase and potentially a further $100,000.
Phase 2 – Pre-Treaty Preparations. Further funding will be available to assist Groups to form a delegation and prepare to enter into the Treaty Negotiations database.
What activities can ‘Phase 1: Treaty Aspirations’ funding be used for?
Phase 1 funding is to provide immediate support to a Traditional Owner Group to come together to explore and form their aspirations for Treaty.
How Traditional Owners want to do that will vary and the funding is pretty flexible, because we know a ‘one size fits all’ approach isn’t going to work.
Some groups might look at using the funds to employ a Treaty Organiser to have the yarns with their Community so they can start developing a clearer idea of what collective priorities and needs a Treaty in the area should cover.
Examples of activities that can be funded to assist Traditional Owner groups form their Treaty Aspirations include:
- Full group and family / clan meetings
- Treaty engagement and education
- Developing cultural governance structures and decision-making processes
- Employment of a Treaty Officer / Manager or similar
- Support for preparation of Phase 2 funding application.
(Please note, this list is not prescriptive or exhaustive.)
What activities can ‘Phase 2: Pre-Treaty Preparations” funding be used for?
Phase 2 funding is to help Traditional Owner Groups meet and demonstrate the standards – as set by the Treaty Negotiation Framework – required to enter Treaty negotiations.
This might involve undertaking community and nation building activities, while continuing to determine Treaty aspirations and priorities.
Phase 2 funding is also fairly flexible and can support practical needs such as undertaking cultural mapping and heritage surveys and holding meetings and gatherings.
Examples of activities that can be funded to assist Traditional Owner prepare for Treaty negotiations are:
- Meetings and gatherings
- Cultural strengthening activities, including Cultural mapping and heritage surveys
- Governance training and workshops
- Establish Treaty leadership groups and develop priorities for Treaty.
- Engage experts and advisors (e.g. cultural, economic, legal).
(Please note, this list is not prescriptive or exhaustive)
Who is eligible for funding?
Traditional Owner Groups in Victoria are eligible for funding.
During Phase 1, the Fund will take an inclusive and flexible approach to the definition of Traditional Owner Group. Phase 1 funding is a shared resource for all Traditional Owners who want to get serious about Treaty-making.
For Phase 2, only Traditional Owner Groups in Victoria as defined in Treaty Negotiation Framework, can apply for funding.
When do applications need to be made?
Applications for Phase 1 and Phase 2 funding can be made from 15 December 2023 until December 2025 or until funds are fully granted.
The Fund intends to respond to Traditional Owner groups within five weeks of receiving a full application. The funds will be released once your group has been notified, they have satisfied the criteria for those funds.
If an application does not satisfy the criteria, the Fund will provide feedback and support to re-apply.
How are applications made for funding?
How often will the will there be funding rounds?
As the Self-Determination Fund is established to actively support First Peoples’ self-determination, is it working to not replicate previous grant funding mechanisms. The Fund won’t be having funding rounds – instead both Phase 1 and Phase 2 will be open until December 2025 or until funds are fully granted.
Will there be reporting required for funding received?
Yes, there will be reporting that each group who receives funding will provide to the Fund. Support will be available to guide Traditional Owner groups through this reporting, with a culturally appropriate reporting mechanism.
Reporting will support the Fund to meet its obligations to the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria and, where appropriate, to share learnings of Treaty readiness activities.
What accessibility and cultural safety support will there be?
All applications and enquiries will be treated respectfully and confidentially. Accessibility will be a priority of the Fund’s application process.
What cant funds we be used for?
Funding won’t be given to activities that rely too heavily on expensive external consultants or third-party advisors, or other activities that are deemed a responsibility of the Government.
What will the outcomes be of funding?
Each phase of funding is designed to help Traditional Owner Groups reach a particular milestone on the journey to Treaty.
Forming Treaty Aspirations: Outcome = Members of your Traditional Owner Group come together, start exploring Treaty aspirations and decide whether (or not) to prepare for Treaty negotiations
Pre-Treaty Preparations: Outcome = Traditional Owner Group entered into Negotiations Database
Entering Treaty negotiations: Outcome = Formed a delegation and State invited to begin Treaty Negotiations
Conducting Treaty negotiations: Outcome = Treaty terms agreed between delegation and State
Formalise Treaty = Outcome = Formalised agreement between State and Traditional Owner Group
Where can I find out more?
You can head to the Self Determination Fund’s website for more information or to get in touch with the team here.
About the Fund – First Peoples making decisions about First Peoples’ financial resources
The Assembly is responsible for administering the Self-Determination Fund and has set it up as a public charitable trust to ensure it is managed in an independent and accountable way.
The Self-Determination Fund Limited is the Trustee for the Fund (the public charitable trust). The Trustee manages the Fund, including how the funds are provided to First Peoples.
The Trustee is managed by a Board of five directors, all First Peoples, appointed by the Assembly. The current Directors are Lisa Briggs, Nadina Brockhurst, Chris Croker, Rohan Henry and Jason Mifsud.