The final steps in Victoria’s history-making treaty process were signed off on Thursday, in a moment that could jump-start some negotiations a year ahead of schedule. Source: The Age.
The state government and the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria have agreed on a framework that sets up the principles and criteria for negotiating treaty. A state-wide treaty could involve negotiating changes to Victoria’s institutional structures and systems of government to provide First Peoples’ right to access and manage land and resources, among other things.
The state-wide treaty cannot be negotiated until the election of the new First Peoples’ Assembly, due by November next year, but the framework could allow traditional owners across Victoria to begin their own treaties process with the state before the end of the year.
The framework sets the ground rules for the independent Treaty Authority, established in August. The authority will facilitate treaty negotiations and resolve disputes between the government and Aboriginal Victorians. A $65 million Self-Determination Fund has also been established to assist traditional owners to prepare for the process.
Assembly co-chair Marcus Stewart, a Nira illim bulluk man of the Taungurung Nation, said the framework represented “the best opportunity for equality at the negotiation table that we’ve seen”.
Victoria is the only state or territory that has enacted the voice, truth and treaty elements of the Uluru Statement from the Heart – a 2017 manifesto that demanded a commission to supervise a process of “agreement-making” between governments.
Victoria marks history-making final steps in treaty process (By Jack Latimore, The Age)