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Right People for Country program

Supporting Traditional Owners to make agreements between and within groups.

Please note: the Right People for Country Program is no longer taking applications.

Traditional Owner agreement-making

Right People for Country program supports Traditional Owner groups to prepare for and make agreements:

  • between groups: about boundaries and extent of Country
  • within groups: about group representation and membership

These agreements can assist Traditional Owner groups who want to:

  • become Registered Aboriginal Parties under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
  • negotiate settlements with the Victorian Government under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 or pursue native title under the Native Title Act 1993

The Right People for Country program moves away from governments and courts making decisions for Traditional Owners. It provides support for Traditional Owner groups to reach agreements about Country and Traditional Owner identity themselves.

Right People for Country program diagram

Support is tailored to Traditional Owner groups and includes:

  • independent facilitators
  • training (strategic negotiation, group facilitation and dispute resolution)
  • planning workshops
  • support to visit and map country
  • resources to hold meetings

Agreement-making process

Request Right People for Country program support.

2. Co-design

Design the agreement-making process.

3. Develop a plan

Review information and research, access training. Develop a project plan.

4. Agreement-making

Implement agreement-making process.

Document and endorse agreements.

5. Implementation

Communicate the agreement to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council and the Native Title Unit, Department of Justice and Community Safety, to support Registered Aboriginal Party appointments and settlement agreements.

Agreement making principles

Agreement making principles - Right People for Country Program

Traditional Owner-led

Traditional Owners design and lead the agreement-making process and reach their own agreements about 'right people for Country' matters.


Agreement-making is coordinated with formal recognition processes. Support is brokered from other agencies to assist in agreement-making.


Agreement-making is conducted on a 'confidential and without prejudice' basis. Information is respected and protected according to the wishes of Traditional Owner groups.

Cultural respect

Respect for cultural practices and values in agreement-making.


Focus on healing and strengthening relationships between and within Traditional Owner groups.

Strengthening capacity

Training and resources in strategic negotiation, group facilitation, and managing disputes.

Tailored and flexible support

Support is matched to the needs of Traditional Owner groups. There is no set formula.

Confidentiality and managing information

Our program ensures your information is protected according to the wishes of Traditional Owner groups.

Agreement-making is confidential and without prejudice.

This means that:

  • information may be shared within and between Traditional Owner groups but cannot be disclosed to a third party without the consent of all Traditional Owner groups involved
  • information cannot be used for a purpose other than agreement-making without the consent of all Traditional Owner groups involved
  • discussions and information shared during agreement-making cannot be disclosed, or relied upon in any future arbitral, administrative or judicial proceeding

Disclosure may only occur:

  • With consent of the relevant Traditional Owner groups.
  • If required by law. All information held by the Right People for Country program is subject to laws relating to freedom of information, privacy and public records. Exemptions may apply.
  • Information is already publicly available (other than as a result of a breach of privacy) or is non-identifying information necessary for administration.
  • The Right People for Country program discloses that a Traditional Owner group has received or is receiving agreement making support. Where this happens, the Right People for Country program will not provide any further details other than whether agreement making support has been provided, without the consent of the Traditional Owner groups involved.

Steering committee

The program is partnered with key stakeholders involved in Traditional Owner and native title settlements and cultural heritage management.

A steering committee oversees the program. The committee includes representatives from:

  • Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council
  • Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations
  • First Nations Legal and Research Service
  • Department of Justice and Community Safety
  • Aboriginal Victoria

The program is managed by Aboriginal Victoria, Department of Premier and Cabinet.

More information

Reviewed 20 September 2023

First Peoples - State Relations

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