On 20 October 2022, Victoria took a momentous step towards Treaty.
Along the banks of the Birrarung (Yarra River) on Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Country, the Acting Minister for Treaty and First Peoples joined members of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria to deliver the next critical phase of Victoria’s landmark Treaty process.
Together the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria and the Minister signed off on the Treaty Negotiation Framework and Self-Determination Fund.
The Treaty Negotiation Framework sets out the ground rules for negotiating treaties to ensure a fair Treaty process, while the Self-Determination Fund provides a resource for First Peoples to ensure fair and equitable treaty negotiations.
This is a significant step towards Treaty and the transfer of power and resources to First Peoples so they can control the policies and programs that affect their lives.
With all Treaty elements now agreed and established by the State and First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, both parties are set to embark on the next phase of the landmark Treaty process and commence formal Treaty negotiations in 2023.
Treaty Negotiation Framework
The Treaty Negotiation Framework outlines the rules and processes for negotiating treaties between the State and First Peoples.
It is required under Victoria’s Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018 (Treaty Act). The Framework specifies who can enter Treaty negotiations, how negotiations are conducted, and what subject matter Treaty negotiations in Victoria can cover.
Treaty-making in Victoria will include the negotiation of both a statewide Treaty and local Traditional Owner Treaties. This reflects that self-determination can be exercised by all First Peoples in Victoria collectively, and individually by Traditional Owner groups. The Treaty Negotiation Framework guarantees an open and inclusive Treaty process and gives all First Peoples groups in Victoria the opportunity to register for Treaty negotiations.
Unique to Victoria, the Treaty Negotiation Framework also provides a space for the practice of Aboriginal Lore, Law and Cultural Authority. The Treaty Authority will undertake the complex task of synthesising these concepts with the cultural context of non-Aboriginal parties and developing a practice of how Aboriginal Lore and Law can be applied in the Treaty process.
The Self-Determination Fund will provide an independent financial resource to support First Peoples to achieve equal standing with the State in Treaty negotiations. It will also help build capacity, wealth and prosperity within Aboriginal communities.
The Self-Determination Fund is required under Victoria’s Treaty Act, and the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria is required to administer the Self-Determination Fund independently of the State and ensure the equitable and sustainable allocation of funding.
Reviewed 30 October 2022