Victorian Government to begin talks with First Nations on Australia’s first Indigenous treaty
The Victorian Government will begin talks to work out Australia’s first treaty with Indigenous people within weeks.
Aim of Victoria’s First Nations Treaty:
- Recognition of past injustices
- Recognition of all 39 First Nations and their Clans Authority
- Recognition of and respect for country, traditions and customs
- A futures fund to implement and establish the treaty
- Establishment of a democratic treaty commission
- Land Rights and Land Acquisition Legislation and Funding
- Fresh Water and Sea Water Rights
(From the Victorian Traditional Land Owner Justice Group)
A meeting with First Nations representatives, convened by the State Government earlier this month, firmly rejected Constitutional recognition in favour of self-determination and a treaty.
The treaty would be a legal document over Aboriginal affairs and services and addressing past injustices.
It would be the first such agreement in Australia and follow similar arrangements with First Peoples in Canada, the US and New Zealand.
Victoria’s Aboriginal Affairs Minister Natalie Hutchins told Lateline the Government was committed to making it happen.
“At the end of the day it’s pretty disappointing that we, in the year 2016, don’t have a treaty or a national arrangement with our First Peoples,” she said.
Ms Hutchins said Victoria will look at treaty examples in other Commonwealth countries.
“In fact, Canada have been doing it for a long time, New Zealand has successfully done it, so it’s time for Australia to step up,” she said.
Constitutional recognition ‘a distraction’
Dja Dja Warrung elder Gary Murray said the state must pursue the best outcome.
“It’s not difficult to scope a treaty given what’s happened in Canada and New Zealand and other places,” he said.
“I think we pick the best from that and bring it into the modern world.”
Mr Murray said the national debate around Constitutional recognition was just “a distraction”. Read More…