From late 2018 to mid-2019, Aboriginal Victoria engaged with Traditional Owners for 2 projects:
- Traditional Owner Self-Determination Scheme (Scheme)
- Victorian Government Traditional Owner Engagement Project (Engagement Project)
These projects sought to discuss different but complementary questions about Traditional Owner aspirations, challenges and relationships with government. Engagement on these two issues was undertaken concurrently.
This report aims to hear, reflect and project Traditional Owner voices, particularly those of regions where there is no formal recognition.
These projects are happening within a broader social and political context of Aboriginal Victorians advancing self-determination. The Victorian Government’s support of Aboriginal self-determination through significant structural and systemic transformation is outlined in the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework (VAAF). Further, the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018 is Australia’s first ever treaty legislation, with a key outcome being the ‘First Peoples Assembly of Victoria’. This body will be self-determined through elections and will work with government to develop a treaty negotiation framework relevant to Aboriginal Victorians, from their own perspectives.
The projects discussed in this report engage with Victorian Traditional Owners and therefore must be considered in the context of the formal recognition processes of the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (Vic), Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (Vic) and Native Title Act 1993 (Cth).