The Self-Determination Fund is a necessary element of the Treaty Process as it will support First Peoples to have equal standing with the State in Treaty negotiations. It will also be a financial resource, independent from the State, that empowers First Peoples to build capacity, wealth and prosperity for present and future generations. By doing so the Self-
Determination Fund will:
- support First Peoples to achieve political, economic, social, and cultural self-determination; and
- enable First Peoples to maintain and strengthen their distinct economic institutions, while retaining the right to participate fully, if they so choose and to the extent they wish, in the economic life of the State.
The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria is the voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, recognised under the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018 (Vic) as the Aboriginal Representative Body that works with the State of Victoria to establish by agreement the elements necessary to support future Treaty negotiations. In doing so, the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria represents the diversity of First Peoples, being Traditional Owners of Country in Victoria and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in the lands and waters now known as Victoria.
The State of Victoria is a State of the Commonwealth of Australia under the Commonwealth Constitution and the Victorian Constitution. It is the successor to the colony of Victoria, which was established as a self-governing colony with responsible government by the Constitution Act 1855 (Imp). The colony of Victoria’s establishment occurred without approval from or consultation with those First Peoples who were then (and remain) the Traditional Owners of the land and waters now known as Victoria.
The Self-Determination Fund will be a new resource providing benefits to First Peoples. Consistent with the principle of self-determination, the initiatives funded through the Self-Determination Fund will be determined by First Peoples, through the Aboriginal Representative Body, and consistent with this Agreement. The establishment of the Self-Determination Fund does not affect the State’s continuing obligation to fund and deliver services (whether directly or indirectly) to the Victorian public, including to First Peoples through universal services and government-funded services delivered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.
By this Agreement, the Parties establish the Self-Determination Fund under section 35 of the Treaty Act and agree that the Aboriginal Representative Body will administer the Self-Determination Fund by appointing a wholly-owned subsidiary company to hold the Self-Determination Fund on trust for the purposes specified in section 36 of the Treaty Act.