Empowering Traditional Owners

The Assembly and Government have agreed on a framework and process to enable Traditional Owners to enter Treaty negotiations by the end of 2023.

The framework will see the Assembly – after it has held its elections – to negotiate a state-wide Treaty that will cover state-wide matters. The framework also empowers the diverse Traditional Owner groups in Victoria to negotiate Treaties in their area that reflect their specific aspirations and priorities.

The place we now call Victoria has been the home of various Nations for countless generations. Each with our own traditions, language and stories. Treaty wont take a one-size-fits-all approach – so we’ve made sure all Traditional Owners can follow their own path to Treaty.

“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 state-wide 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.