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A key priority for DPC is to consider how to amend or leverage existing systems to make them responsive to self-determination, and over time, prepare to fundamentally transform them, particularly in response to treaty.

Focus within the systems domain

Systems and structures established during colonisation were designed to exclude Aboriginal people. This led to entrenched systemic and structural racism. DPC needs to change how it works to address this. In the first instance, DPC is transforming its existing systems and processes. However, bigger and bolder changes are needed to truly enable self-determination.

Overview of progress within the systems domain

The transformation of government systems and structures is a long-term goal that requires continuous and evolving work. However, DPC is already facilitating substantial work in this area. For example, by progressing key phases of the treaty process under the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018 (Vic) (the Treaty Process Act), as well as supporting community-led, self-determining arrangements to inform government during the COVID-19 response and recovery efforts.

DPC continued to incorporate self-determination into its core agency work, such as by embedding self-determination analysis in the budget process, implementing new social procurement initiatives, and considering the right to self-determination in DPC’s legal advice and documentation. The establishment of FPSR reflects the increased need to support the government to prepare for major reform in the Treaty and First Peoples portfolio.

2.2.1 DPC actions to leverage existing structures to enable self-determination

CASE STUDY for 2.2.1: Establish the COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response and Recovery Fund to support Aboriginal Victorians throughout the COVID-19 pandemic

DPC delivered a $10 million COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund (Fund) as part of government’s $23 million Aboriginal-specific COVID-19 support package.

Delivering an Aboriginal-led COVID-19 pandemic response

The Fund was designed to support Aboriginal organisations and communities to drive self-determined, culturally safe, local responses to COVID-19. The Fund had a rigorous, self-determined assessment process that involved departments responsible for administering the funding, ACCO members of the former COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Taskforce and the Minister for Treaty and First Peoples.

It provided funding for community-led initiatives across emergency relief, outreach and brokerage, social and emotional wellbeing, and cultural strengthening. The Fund was open from August 2020 until February 2021, and funded 81 initiatives across the state, including: 48 in Metropolitan Melbourne, 7 in North-East Victoria, 7 North-West Victoria, 5 in South-East Victoria, 8 in South-West Victoria, and 6 statewide.

Next Steps

DPC engaged Inside Policy, an Aboriginal owned consultancy, to undertake an evaluation with a focus on capturing successes achieved through the Fund.

The findings of this evaluation will provide an evidence-base for self-determined, community-led and place-based initiatives.

2.2.2 DPC actions to begin fundamentally transforming systems