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About the Strong Roots for our Futures program

The Strong Roots for our Futures program (formerly known as the Traditional Owner Self-Determination Scheme) is a new initiative established to resource activities to support strong self-determining Traditional Owner groups.

The Strong Roots for our Futures program (program) resources foundational activities to support Traditional Owners to build strong groups who are ready to engage in formal recognition processes, if they choose.

The program's design has been informed by Victorian Traditional Owners, whose voices have been captured in the report “To be heard and for words to have actions” Traditional Owner voices: improving government relationships and supporting strong foundations (September 2019).

The program has a focus on resourcing Traditional Owner groups that are not recognised under the:

  • Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
  • Native Title Act 1993
  • Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010.

Groups are located in 4 key regions of Victoria:

  • Far East Gippsland
  • North East
  • Mid North West
  • Central North.
Strong traditional owner groups: healing, culture and country, governance, young people and relationships.

Supporting strong Traditional Owner groups

The program will resource activities that support the following outcomes, which underpin strong Traditional Owner groups capable of achieving formal recognition, should they wish.


Come together, build understanding, strengthen relationships and engage in brave conversations and truth telling.

Culture and Country

Access, connect with and care for Country, and strengthen, protect and maintain culture.


Share and respect Aboriginal governance, strengthen group engagement, structures and decision-making processes, set groups' own priorities and strengthen corporate governance capacity.

Young people

Engage young people in group governance, connect with Country, and foster strong mentor relationships that enable the transfer of knowledge between generations.


Build strong, positive relationships between groups and with government agencies and other external parties.

Branches of support

Branch 1: Training and workshops

Access: All Traditional Owners, with priority given to Traditional Owners of the Regions.

Examples of activities:

  • facilitation skills workshops
  • indigenous governance workshops
  • youth-focused workshops.

Support available:

  • All training costs, accommodation and travel will be covered.

Upcoming workshop dates TBA.

Branch 2: Gatherings and meetings

Purpose: Support for families and groups to come together for meetings and gatherings that aim to achieve one or more of the program outcomes.

Access: Families and groups of the regions.

Example of activities:

  • family meetings and reunions
  • meetings between families
  • youth spaces
  • meetings between groups
  • meetings on Country
  • planning workshops.

Support available:

  • meeting costs including venue
  • accommodation
  • meals
  • travel up to $30,000 per meeting and in accordance with the program's Travel Support Policy.

Branch 3: Small projects

Purpose: Support or small grants available for families and groups to carry out projects to support strong Traditional Owner groups in line with the program outcomes.

Access: Families and groups of the regions.

Examples of activities:

  • healing projects
  • cultural activities
  • trips on Country
  • knowledge sharing
  • mentoring
  • youth projects
  • truth telling.

Support available:

  • project planning workshop
  • support or grant up to $50,000 per project
  • planning and project management support.

Branch 4: Large projects

Purpose: Support or large grants available for Traditional Owners across a region to come together and carry out projects to support strong Traditional Owner groups in line with the program outcomes.

Access: Groups of the regions.

Examples of activities:

  • governance and planning projects
  • regional cultural events
  • knowledge sharing projects
  • regional healing and truth telling projects.

Support available:

  • project planning workshop
  • support or grant up to $150,000 per project
  • project management support.


Find eligibility, application details and and forms on our Guidelines page.

Accessing support

If you are interested in accessing support, give us a call to talk or arrange a time to meet.

We can:

  • answer questions about the program and accessing support
  • talk through your meeting or project ideas
  • facilitate a planning workshop to develop projects and pathways for accessing support
  • provide assistance with applications
  • provide information about other resources and services available outside the program.

Newsletters and updates

Sign up for newsletters and updates to stay informed about training and other activities.

More information

Download a flyer about the program:

Phone or email us:

Jesse Williams, Senior Project Officer

Nell Reidy, Senior Project Officer

Reviewed 02 March 2023

First Peoples - State Relations

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