Empowering Traditional Owners

The place we now call Victoria has been the home of various Nations for countless generations. Each with our own traditions, language and stories.

So we’re not taking a one-size-fits-all approach – we’ve made sure all Traditional Owners can follow their own path to Treaty!

In addition to a statewide Treaty covering statewide matters that the Assembly and Victorian Government will start negotiating in 2024, our Treaty Negotiation Framework also empowers the diverse Traditional Owner groups in Victoria to negotiate their own Treaties on their Country.

These Traditional Owner Treaties will reflect the specific aspirations and priorities relevant to those areas. The Self-Determination Fund can provide support for Traditional Owner groups who want to start preparing for their negotiations.

“While targeted, issue-specific, reform can cast discrete beams of light into our lives, only deep structural change can remove the shadow of Colonisation. We know what we need – we need the freedom and power to make the decisions that affect us.”

— Marcus Stewart, Assembly Co-Chair.

State-wide and Traditional Owner Treaties

In a state-wide Treaty, we will negotiate significant changes to Victoria’s structures and systems of government to achieve greater control over our own lives and destinies.

For example, Treaties between Indigenous peoples and governments in New Zealand and Canada cover things like:

  • the recognition of historic wrongs,
  • commitments to enable self-determination and self-government (see Meaningful Voice)
  • rights to manage land and resources, health, education, and economic development, and
  • the ability to practice and revitalise culture, language and heritage.

Traditional Owners of Country will be able to build on the work of the statewide Treaty by negotiating a Traditional Owner Treaty in their area with the Victorian Government, that focuses on specific topics of their choosing.

For example, Traditional Owner Treaties, might include things like:

  • Traditional relationships with land and waters
  • Culture and language
  • Economic underpinnings for caring for Country
  • Land and water hand backs and entitlements
  • National Park management
  • Economic development opportunities

The scope and ground-rules for future Treaty making are defined by the ‘Treaty Negotiation Framework’ that the Assembly developed based on Community direction. 

For a detailed overview of the Framework, the Treaty Authority and the Self-Determination Fund, download our Treaty Info Kit here.