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Strong Roots for Our Futures Program - Guidelines

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.

Not-for-profit groups
Ongoing

What is the Strong Roots for Our Future Program?

Purpose

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 has a focus on resourcing Traditional Owners of the regions without formal recognition, located in Far East Gippsland, North East, Mid North West and Central North Victoria. The Program is accessible both before and alongside progressing formal recognition.

Program Design

The Program was designed through extensive engagement with over 120 Traditional Owners of the Far East Gippsland, Central North, Mid North West and North East regions as well as representatives of formally recognised Traditional Owner groups.

Traditional Owner 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).

Guidelines

  • Program team

    The Program is administered by Traditional Owner Programs team, in the Department of Premier and Cabinet's First Peoples - State Relations Group. The Program has staff dedicated to working with Traditional Owners to access and implement support.

    Principles

    The Program team has also adopted the following principles for working with Traditional Owners based on Traditional Owner advice:

    Traditional Owner led – the Program team will respond to the needs and requests of Traditional Owners and will support projects that are led by Traditional Owners

    Flexible and adaptable – the provision of support needs to be flexible and adaptable to the situation and needs of all Traditional Owners

    Clear communication – the Program team will maintain communication with community members, provide relevant dates ahead of time and explain application and assessment processes

    Respect Traditional Owner knowledge – the Program team will respect and protect Traditional Owner information and knowledge

    Support new approaches and ideas – the Program will support innovative and creative ideas and new ways of doing things

    No duplication – the Program will not duplicate resources or support available elsewhere.

    Formal Recognition

    The program will not provide support that negatively impacts formal recognition rights and processes, current or future.

    Traditional Owner Nation-building Package

    Strong Roots for Our Futures is one program under the Traditional Owner Nation-building Support Package.

    The Package supports three discrete work streams of foundation, formation and nation to best support Traditional Owners to achieve formal recognition and strengthen their nations.

    Foundation - resourcing for Traditional Owners of regions without formal recognition for foundational activities that build strong groups - Strong Roots for Our Futures Program

    Formation - research, legal advice and governance support to form representative corporations and make successful formal recognition applications - First Nations Legal & Research Services

    Nation - resourcing for nation-building activities for formally recognised Traditional Owner groups - Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations

    Regional Project teams with staff from DPC and First Nations Legal & Research Services will coordinate foundational and formation work.

  • Traditional Owners whose core Country is located in the regions of Far East Gippsland, North East, Central North and Mid North West Victoria

    The Program is committed to supporting Victorian Traditional Owner groups that are not recognised under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006, Native Title Act 1993 or Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010, located in four key regions of the State:

    • Far East Gippsland
    • North East
    • Mid North West
    • Central North (“regions”).

    Traditional Owners with formal recognition

    Traditional Owners with formal recognition are able to access training and workshops through the Program. The Program will also support projects that build relationships and share knowledge between Traditional Owners of the regions and formally recognised 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.

    Healing

    Support for individuals, families, groups and regions to come together, build understanding, strengthen relationships and engage in brave conversations and truth telling.

    Culture and Country

    Support for families and groups to access, connect with and care for Country, and to strengthen, protect and maintain culture.

    Governance

    Support for families and groups to share and respect Aboriginal governance, strengthen group engagement, structures and decision-making processes, set groups’ own priorities and strengthen corporate governance capacity.

    Young People

    Support for young people to engage in group governance, connect with Country and culture, and foster strong mentor relationships that enable the transfer of knowledge between generations.

    Relationships

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

    The program and formal recognition

    Focusing on the outcomes above, the Program will in turn support Traditional Owner readiness for formal recognition processes and engagement in Treaty.

    The Program will work in partnership with First Nations Legal & Research Services to ensure all Program supports optimise the capacity for Traditional Owner groups to achieve formal recognition, should they wish.

    The program cannot support activities that negatively impact formal recognition rights or processes. This will be assessed in consultation with First Nations Legal & Research Services.

  • Developed through consultation with Traditional Owners, the Program will be implemented in accordance with the following protocols:

    Promote healing for individuals, families, groups and regions

    Build relationships across communities and with government and other external agencies

    Recognise the unique role of young people and support young people and Elders to share culture and knowledge

    Build on the strengths of Traditional Owner individuals, families and groups

    Respect cultural knowledge and build cultural connections of Traditional Owners

  • Description

    Training and workshops available include:

    • facilitation skills training workshops
    • Aboriginal Governance workshops
    • youth focused workshops.

    Training and workshop activities will be offered in the Far East Gippsland, North East, Central North and Mid North West regions in response to needs and priorities identified by Traditional Owners.

    Eligibility and access

    Workshops are open to all Victorian Traditional Owners. Priority is given to Traditional Owners of the Mid North West, Central North, North East and Far East Gippsland regions.

    Participant selection will aim for the following:

    • 2 or more Traditional Owners from a family or group to attend
    • Traditional Owners from a number of different families and groups
    • younger participants who are interested in stepping up and getting more involved as well as participants who are experienced in Traditional Owner business
    • both female and male participants.

    To get the best out of the workshops, participants need to commit to attend all workshop days.

    Application process

    Individual nomination forms, contact the Program team for more information.

  • Description

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

    Eligibility and access

    • Traditional Owner families and groups of the regions
    • families and groups do not need to be incorporated to receive support
    • one meeting or gathering can be implemented at one time.

    Support available

    • meeting costs including venue, accommodation, meals and travel up to $20,000 per meeting and in accordance with the Program’s Travel Support Policy
    • engagement support
    • independent facilitators
    • coordination with other agencies.

    Application process

    Gathering/meeting application form.

    Rounds

    • round 1 closes 29 October 2021
    • round 2 closes 10 December 2021
    • round 3 closes 21 January 2022
    • round 4 closes 4 March 2022

    Further rounds to be announced.

  • Description

    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.

    Eligibility and access

    • Traditional Owner families and groups of the regions
    • families and groups do not need to be incorporated to receive support
    • one small project can be implemented at one time.

    Support available

    • project planning workshop
    • support or grant up to $25,000 per project
    • planning and Project management support

    Application process

    Small project application form

    Rounds

    • round 1 closes 29 October 2021
    • round 2 closes 10 December 2021
    • round 3 closes 21 January 2022
    • round 4 closes 4 March 2022

    Further rounds to be announced.

  • Description

    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.

    Eligibility and access

    • Traditional Owner families and groups of the regions
    • applicants must have completed a branch 2 or 3 to be eligible for branch 4
    • groups do not need to be incorporated to receive support
    • successful applicants must hold a planning workshop to develop a project plan
    • applications must demonstrate support from, or engagement with, Traditional Owner groups and families across the region

    Support available

    • project planning workshop
    • support or grant up to $150,000 per project
    • meeting and travel support in accordance with the Program’s Travel Support Policy
    • project management support.

    Application process

    Large Project application form

    Rounds

    • Round 1 closes 28 January 2022

    Further rounds to be announced.

    • applications for meetings and projects that start less than 4 weeks after the application has been submitted
    • land or infrastructure purchases
    • reimbursement for project expenses already incurred
    • capital purchases or recurrent administrative and other organisational costs not directly related with a project
    • activities that negatively impact on formal recognition rights or processes
    • legal advice or representation.
  • 1. Contact the Program team

    Give us a call or arrange a time to meet. We can:

    • provide information and answer questions about the Program and application guidelines
    • talk through young meeting or project idea
    • provide assistance with applications
    • facilitate a planning workshop to develop projects and pathways

    Planning workshop

    We can facilitate workshops to assist families and groups to identify priorities and develop project plans for accessing support and resources. We can provide:

    • travel support, accommodation, meeting venue and catering costs
    • independent facilitators

    2. Complete an application form

    Application forms are available for:

    • each training or workshop
    • family and group gatherings and meetings
    • small projects
    • large projects

    3. Submit your application

    Applications can be submitted by:

    The Program will acknowledge receipt of your application my email.

  • Assessment Criteria

    All eligible applications for branches 2, 3 and 4 will be assessed against the following Assessment Criteria.

    Program Values

    How does the application demonstrate:

    • healing for individuals, families, groups and regions
    • strengthening of relationships
    • respect for cultural knowledge and the strengthening of cultural connections
    • support for young people and Elders
    • a strengths based approach.

    Outcomes

    How does the application support one or more Program Outcomes

    • healing
    • governance
    • young people
    • culture and country
    • building relationships

    Planning and achievability

    • Is the project plan achievable and realistic?
    • Does the application include necessary resources and services to deliver the outcomes?
    • Does the applicant have experience / capacity to deliver the project?
    • Is the application endorsed or supported by the relevant Traditional Owner families and groups and any partner organisations?
    • Does the project negatively impact formal recognition rights or processes (as assessed in consultation with First Nations Legal & Research Services)?

    Distribution

    The Program will seek to equitably distribute resources across the regions.

  • Step 1 - Each application is assessed against the guidelines for eligibility

    Step 2 - Each eligible application is individually reviewed and assessed against the above criteria:

    • Branches 1 & 2 will be assessed by the Program team
    • Branches 3 & 4 will be assessed by the Peer Assessors Panel

    Step 3 - Applications will be discussed with First Nations Legal & Research Services to ensure the activity does not negatively impact formal recognition processes

    Step 4 - A recommendation based on the assessment is made to the Deputy Secretary, First Peoples - State Relations (FPSR) for provision of direction support by FPRS, or to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs for all grants. The Deputy Secretary's and Minister's decisions are final.

    Step 5 - Applicants are advised of application outcome. If your application is successful, Program staff will let you know what additional information is required. If your application is unsuccessful, Program staff will provide thorough feedback.

    During the assessment process, the Program team may ask for clarification about the application or additional information.

  • The Peer Assessors Panel comprise Traditional Owners from each of the Mid North West, Central North, North East and Far East Gippsland regions. Peer Assessors must have:

    • understanding and expertise in the Program outcomes of Healing, Culture and Country, Governance, Young People, and Relationships
    • experience in planning and implementing meetings or projects.

    Peer Assessors will not assess projects related to their region.

    You can read more about the Peer Assessors Panel, and submit an Expression of Interest to be on the Panel on the Peer Assessors Panel page.

  • How is support provided?

    The Program seeks to be flexible in how it provides support. Families and groups do not need to be incorporated to receive support.

    Support and resources can be provided through:

    • Direct provision of support – the Program team can organise meeting support or contract independent facilitators or other service providers on your behalf
    • Grants – through an auspice organisation or your own corporation

    See Funding Options Fact Sheet for more information.

    Delivering your project or meeting

    Stay in touch with Program staff to let us know how you are going or if you need additional assistance.

    You need to let us know if there are any proposed changes to your project or meeting. This may include changes to dates and venues, who is involved, and expenditure of approved funding.

    Evaluation and reporting

    All activities resourced through the Program will require recipients to complete evaluation and reporting. These are intended to be straight forward and will help to inform the ongoing management and future direction of the Program. Program staff can assist with these as appropriate and needed.

    Activity evaluations will be undertaken through informal interviews, evaluation forms and reports. The findings of these will be de-identified, collated and presented publicly in an annual report to ensure transparency and to share learnings across Traditional Owner groups.

  • Conversations with Traditional Owners

    Conversations between DPC's Program team and Traditional Owners are always in confidence, unless expressly stated by the Traditional Owner.

    The Program team may record your name and any contact information during this call so that they are able to get back in touch with you. The team will not pass on your details without discussing this with you first and getting your consent.

    Applications

    Information provided to DPC in Program applications will be used to assist staff to assess eligibility and suitability for the Program and to prepare funding agreements. Any personal information that is provided will be handled in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic) and other applicable laws.

    DPC, its officers, employees, agents and sub-contractors may use and disclose any of the information provided with the application to Victorian Government departments or agencies, Victorian Government bodies, non-government organisations and/or the Commonwealth, states or territories for any purpose in connection with the administration of the Program.

    Third party consultations

    As part of the assessment process, information provided in applications will be shared with relevant staff from First Nations Legal & Research Services to ensure alignment with formal recognition processes.

    Complimentary applications

    If there are two similar or complimentary applications, the Program team will ask you if they can put you in touch with other applicants to enable the sharing of knowledge, skills and experiences. If appropriate, this may also provide opportunities to maximise resource.

    Successful project

    The Program will publicly list recipients of support, the branch accessed and a short description of the activity, including on the Strong Roots for Our Future Program webpage, to ensure transparency about access to Program resources. The Program will not publicly disclose any additional information, without the consent of the Traditional Owner parties involved.

    Successful applications may also be the subject of media releases and disclosure as otherwise provided in the ‘Terms and Conditions’ of the Funding Agreement.

    Project reporting and evaluation documents are confidential documents and identifying information will not be disclosed by the Program team without consent. The findings of these will be de-identified, collated and presented publicly to ensure transparency and share learnings across Traditional Owner groups.

    Further privacy information

    You may access a copy of DPC’s Privacy Policy in relation to the management of personal information collected by contacting 1300 366 356.

Reviewed 16 September 2021