Date: 20 October 2022
Parties: First People' Assembly of Victoria Ltd (ACN 636 189 412) of 48 Cambridge Street, Collingwood, Victoria, 3066 (Aboriginal Representative Body) and the State of Victoria of Level 14, 35 Collins Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000 (State).
The First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria is the voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to advance Treaty in Victoria, 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 on 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 the First Peoples who were then (and remain) the Traditional Owners of the land and waters now known as Victoria.
The Parliament of Victoria, by section 1A of the Constitution Act 1975 (Vic), recognises that Aboriginal people of Victoria, as the original custodians of the land on which the colony of Victoria was established, have a unique status as the descendants of Australia’s first people; have a spiritual, social, cultural and economic relationship with their traditional lands and waters within Victoria; and have made a unique and irreplaceable contribution to the identity and wellbeing of Victoria.
The State of Victoria, by the Preamble to the Treaty Act, acknowledges that Traditional Owners of Country in Victoria maintain their sovereignty was never ceded and states that the time has come to take the next step towards reconciliation and to advance self-determination for First Peoples.
Since colonisation, Traditional Owners of Country in Victoria have fought for and won back some of the rights and status they hold under Aboriginal Lore and Law as recognised by the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. These rights and this status are obtained and enjoyed under existing legislative recognition processes. The fight for rights and status has been shaped by First Peoples' Ancestors and is a key pillar that supports the journey to self-determination. The honouring of First Peoples' Ancestors and activation of inherent rights and benefits as sovereign peoples is now continued through Treaty-making.
The injustices of the past cannot be undone. The State is pursuing Treaty-making because it is the right thing to do. The State of Victoria needs a Treaty or Treaties that are reciprocal and that through truth and justice provide far-reaching benefits for First Peoples. For Traditional Owners, Aboriginal children, Elders, and stolen people; for a society that all Victorians can be proud of; Treaty-making will be for all First Peoples. In the spirit of reconciliation, Treaty-making will be for all Victorians. A future Treaty or Treaties should acknowledge truth and healing, as guided by the recommendations of the Yoorrook Justice Commission, enhance the existing laws of this State, bring pride to all Victorians and have positive impacts for all of Victorian society.
By the agreement set out in this document, the Aboriginal Representative Body and the State establish the Framework required by section 30(1) of the Treaty Act.
Reviewed 28 October 2022