- 1 Oct 2019
The report 'To be heard and for the words to have actions' Traditional Owner voices: improving government relationships and supporting strong foundations, is the result of extensive contributions by over 120 Traditional Owners of the regions of far east Gippsland, north-east Victoria and mid north-west Victoria without formal recognition, as well as formally recognised Traditional Owner groups.
Engagement between Aboriginal Victoria and Traditional Owners resulting in this report occurred from December 2018-July 2019.
Traditional Owners provided important information about how Government can better engage with and resource Traditional Owner groups. For Traditional Owners, particularly those of the far east Gippsland, north-east Victoria and mid north-west Victoria, there is persistent disappointment about government processes and a feeling of being left behind: 'We have been saying this stuff for a hundred years.'
At the same time, there is hope and courage for the future: 'We want to get things in place for our future leaders,' and a desire to build better relationships to take 'everybody – government and community – to a sustainable place.'
Traditional Owners have said that improving government engagement requires:
- Recognising and respecting rights.
- Strengthening relationships with a more coordinated government.
- Supporting and resourcing Traditional Owners.
- Building a culturally aware and competent workforce.
- Effectively reaching out, communicating and sharing information.
- Sharing power and control in defining and achieving mutually beneficial outcomes.
- Creating more opportunities for Aboriginal employment and promotion in government, in supportive and culturally safe workplaces.
Traditional Owners identified healing, Country and culture, governance, young people, relationships and recognition as priorities for support.
The report informs 2 Victorian Government projects:
- Strong Roots for Our Futures Program (formerly Traditional Owner Self Determination Scheme)
- Traditional Owner Engagement Project