On 7 June 2022, the Treaty Authority and Other Treaty Elements Bill 2022 (Treaty Authority Bill) was introduced in the Victorian Parliament following a historic agreement reached between the Government and the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria (First Peoples’ Assembly).
The Bill allows for the establishment of the Treaty Authority as an ‘independent umpire’ to oversee negotiations between the Government and Aboriginal Victorians to ensure a fair treaty process that can realise positive outcomes for all Victorians.
The Bill gives the Treaty Authority the legal powers necessary to facilitate treaty negotiations and resolve any disputes between parties.
The Treaty Authority will be a nation-leading institution, drawing on international best practice but adapted for Victoria to ensure Aboriginal lore, law and cultural authority are observed and upheld.
The legislation is the result of engagement and negotiation between the Victorian Government and the First Peoples’ Assembly, the democratically elected body representing Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians to progress the elements required for treaty in Victoria.
Agreement on the Treaty Authority was marked on 10 June with a ceremonial signing at a First Peoples’ Assembly chamber meeting on Gadubanud Country of the Eastern Maar, attended by Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Treaty and First Peoples Gabrielle Williams.
With the establishment of the Treaty Authority, Victoria takes a significant step towards the commencement of formal treaty negotiations.
First Peoples’ Assembly address to the Victorian Parliament
The First Peoples’ Assembly made a historic address to the Victorian Parliament on the importance of treaty in both English and in language on 22 June 2022, setting the tone for debate on the nation-leading Treaty Authority Bill.
First Peoples’ Assembly Co-Chairs Marcus Stewart and Aunty Geraldine Atkinson addressed members of Parliament, calling on them to listen to the voice of First Peoples in Victoria.The First Peoples’ Assembly Co-Chairs make a historic address to the Victorian Parliament on the importance of treaty.
The Treaty Act
The Victorian Government is committed to advancing treaty with Victoria's First Peoples as a necessary step in realising Aboriginal self-determination.
In August 2018, this commitment was formalised in law with the passage of the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018 (Treaty Act) – the first treaty legislation in Australia's history.
The Treaty Act, developed with and led by First Peoples and communities, sets out a roadmap for Victoria's treaty process and commits the Victorian Government to work in partnership with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians to establish elements necessary to support future treaty negotiations.
This includes a treaty authority, a self-determination fund, a treaty negotiation framework and a dispute resolution process.
Reviewed 28 October 2022