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This report presents the voices of over 120 Victorian Traditional Owners who provided critical information about how government can better resource and engage with Traditional Owner groups while continuing to build meaningful relationships.

For Traditional Owners, particularly those of the Mid North West, North East and Far East Gippsland, 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.'

In providing the advice in this report, Traditional Owners have loudly and consistently said they want 'to be heard and for the words to have actions.'

This report will be available to all but is intended to be of particular importance to government agencies and of the greatest benefit to the Traditional Owners who contributed to the report. It is hoped that Traditional Owners can see their voices reflected in this report and that the report also provides an opportunity for Traditional Owners to hear what groups have said collectively.

This report will be presented to decision-makers such as the Victorian Government Secretaries Leadership Group and to all relevant government and government funded agencies, with an invitation to listen, hear and act – to reset the relationship with Traditional Owners.

Traditional Owner advice in this report will inform the design of the Scheme and guiding documents for the Engagement Project. For both projects, this report is part of a continuing conversation and relationship with Traditional Owners: 'laying strong foundations for the future.'