On behalf of the DPC Board of Management, it is my pleasure to deliver this second Report under the SDRF.
The SDRF is an important accountability tool for departments to report yearly on their self-determination reform and to encourage regular reflection, collaboration and innovation. DPC achieved several considerable milestones over this 18-month reporting period, including:
- establishing the Yoorrook Justice Commission to investigate historical and ongoing injustices perpetrated against First Peoples
- working with the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria to support future treaty negotiations, and preparing all areas of government
- delivering the $10 million COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Response and Recovery Fund
- supporting the Stolen Generations Reparations Steering Committee to develop and deliver its report to government on the design and implementation of a Stolen Generations Reparations Package
- registering the Lake Boort Cultural Landscape for its outstanding cultural heritage significance after months of intensive Traditional Owner-led work, assisted by Heritage Services
- leading the development of Victoria’s implementation plan for the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
The establishment of the First Peoples-State Relations Group (FPSR) in DPC is putting self-determination, treaty and truth at the centre of DPC, recognising Victoria’s First Peoples as the self-determining drivers of First Peoples affairs in Victoria. It also commits the department to build ongoing, just and respectful relationships between self-determining First Peoples whilst also working with First Peoples on cultural heritage management and protection in ways that recognise the leading role of strong and engaged Traditional Owners.
Beyond the vital work of FPSR, all areas of DPC are responsible for embedding self-determination into their work, planning and systems. That is why in November 2021, the DPC Board of Management approved the establishment of a Subcommittee on Self-Determination Reform. This Subcommittee will perform a key role in improving internal systems, policies and processes to enable self-determination, including facilitating action across all areas of the department in line with whole of government commitments. Membership is targeted widely, with members who have key responsibility for particular systems, structures and policy influence.
The DPC Board of Management also participated in a cultural safety workshop in 2021. This provided a valuable lens to consider DPC’s role in leading continuous improvement and reform whilst reflecting on our own understanding of cultural safety and self-determination. It is my aim that all Board members build confidence in the way we apply and embed these concepts in our work. However, more needs to occur, and it is important that all groups across the department understand and embed self-determination principles and enablers into their core business. We must look within our own department to consider the necessary transformation of how we do business to truly deliver on these reforms.
I look forward to this Report informing further and more ambitious actions to enable self-determination across DPC, which in turn will contribute to a better Victoria.
Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet
Reviewed 19 May 2023