This website contains images of people who have passed away.

Opportunity and prosperity

Fully participating in the economy provides Aboriginal Victorians with the resources they need to determine the future they want. Economic participation is key to Aboriginal self-determination.

Our shared commitment

Building opportunity and economic prosperity for all Aboriginal Victorians.

Fully participating in the economy provides Aboriginal Victorians with the resources they need to self-determine their future. The Victorian Government is committed to supporting Aboriginal Victorian workers, employers and businesses to thrive, including supporting them to recover from the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic. As part of government's efforts, fostering inclusive economic growth is key.

This means stimulating work and additional economic development and business opportunities for Aboriginal young people, women, people living with disability and those in regional areas, and ensuring Aboriginal Victorians are represented at all levels, across all sectors and in all pursuits.

Goal 8: Aboriginal workers achieve wealth equality


Measures under goal 8 have improved

First Peoples continue to face economic disadvantage as a result of colonisation, exclusion from economic participation, dispossession and the denial of pre-existing rights to and traditional ownership of land and waters.

While there remains economic disparity, the personal and household income of Aboriginal Victorians has increased. More businesses have Aboriginal owners and procurement from Aboriginal businesses is at an all-time high.

Home ownership remains a significant barrier to increasing Aboriginal inter-generational wealth. Home ownership has remained stable over the past five years.

Data note

All measures under this goal are reported on.

Closing the Gap – Relevant Outcomes and Targets for Goal 8

The National Agreement does not contain outcomes and targets that align with this VAAF goal. Victoria is pursuing more ambitious and comprehensive goals under the VAAF, which are reported on in this chapter and the Data Dashboard.

Closing the Gap – How Victoria is tracking nationally

Not applicable.

8.1 Increase Aboriginal household income in line with the Victorian median

Measure 8.1.1. Median household income and median equivalised household income

In 2021 Aboriginal Victorian households earned a median income of $81,0603.57. This is $10,272 less than non-Aboriginal Victorians. Given there is not as significant a difference between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal personal incomes, this may indicate differing household compositions.

The household income gap has shown signs of decreasing. The median yearly income for Aboriginal household is growing at a rate of 30.4 per cent since 2016 compared with 23.9 per cent in non-Aboriginal households.

8.2 Increase Aboriginal home ownership in line with the Victorian average

Measure 8.2.1 Proportion of homeowners versus other tenure types (by age bracket)

Between 2016 and 2021, the gap between Aboriginal home ownership and the Victorian average decreased by 1 per cent. However, this was due to a drop in non-Aboriginal homeowners as opposed to increased Aboriginal home ownership. Aboriginal home ownership decreased by 0.3 per cent during this time.

As the proportion of Aboriginal Victorian renters also dropped by 2.7 per cent (to 51.3 per cent), this means Aboriginal Victorians are increasingly living in unowned and unrented tenure types, with housing insecurity an ongoing issue. The meaning of ‘other tenure types’ is in the census data dictionary here:….

8.3 Increase Aboriginal business ownership and support Aboriginal entrepreneurs

Measure 8.3.1 Number of Victorian business owner-managers who are Aboriginal.

The growth in the number of Victorian business owner-managers who are Aboriginal accelerated between 2006 and 2021. In 2021, there was a total of 1,925 Aboriginal Victorian business owner-managers, compared to 1,292 in 2016 and 707 in 2006. This demonstrates that the change in Aboriginal participation in the economy is not only in employment but also in Aboriginal control and ownership of business. Growth in Aboriginal controlled enterprise is a positive sign that efforts to limit the barriers to Aboriginal ownership and enterprise are working.

Measure 8.3.2 Aboriginal businesses that government enters into a purchase agreement with as a proportion of small to medium enterprises.

The Victorian Government has increased its procurement from Aboriginal businesses by approximately $400,000 for 2021-22. Over the past 4 years, procurement from Aboriginal business has increased by 29.3 per cent up to $21.6 million for 2021-22; with goods and services procured from 129 Victorian Aboriginal businesses.

Transport Portfolio - Kinaway Chamber of Commerce Pilot Program

In late 2022, the Transport Portfolio launched a 12-month pilot partnership program with the Kinaway Chamber of Commerce (Kinaway). The purpose of the program is to enhance relevant spending, build the capability and awareness of the Aboriginal Victorian business community across the portfolio and promote relationship building to maximise the opportunities that exist within the Transport Portfolio. The Department of Transport and Planning (DTP) has committed $249,300 in funding to support the employment of a Transport Portfolio Relationship Manager at Kinaway, workshops with Transport Portfolio agencies and scoping of a Transport Portfolio Aboriginal procurement policy. DTP has undertaken opportunity analysis workshops with participating entities providing a comprehensive breakdown of typical purchasing categories and identifying procurement opportunities.

Hospital construction - Aboriginal employment

Multiplex Constructions has been successful in attracting and retaining Aboriginal workers through a range of initiatives related to construction of the new Footscray Hospital. As of February 2023, the project has achieved approximately 24,500 hours in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander workforce participation and spent approximately $3.7 million on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander business procurement. At the Victorian Heart Hospital, there were 45,000 hours completed by Aboriginal employees, exceeding targeted hours of 29,000 hours.

Goal 9: Strong Aboriginal workforce participation, in all sectors and at all levels


Measures under Goal 9 have improved

Aboriginal employment in every industry has grown since 2011. Historical barriers to industries are slowly being taken down. This includes the highest income brackets. With Aboriginal Victorians leading and influencing practice and culture across the broad spectrum of workplaces, this will create a safer work environment for First Peoples.

The Victorian Government is supporting this through growth in the Jobs Victoria program and the highest number of job seeker placements since the program’s commencement.

Data note

All measures under this goal are reported on.

Goal 9 directly aligns with the following Closing the Gap Outcomes and Targets

Outcome 8 Strong economic participation and development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities

  • Target 8: By 2031, increase the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–64 who are employed to 62%.

Closing the Gap – How Victoria is tracking nationally

Outcome 8: In 2021, 55.7 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 25–64 years were employed across Australia, compared to 62 per cent in Victoria.

Nationally, based on progress from the baseline, the target shows good improvement and is on track to be met. In Victoria, there has been some improvement since 2016 (the baseline year).

9.1 Increase Aboriginal workforce participation

Measure 9.1.1 Employment to population ratio

The employment to population ratio for Aboriginal Victorians increased to 52.9 per cent in 2021 (up by 4.7 per cent since 2016), indicating that a greater proportion of the Victorian Aboriginal population is employed. This mainly represents the increased employment of Aboriginal women, as the proportion of employed Aboriginal men remained relatively stable between 2016 and 2021. This could be due to a range of economic factors such as the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and changes in the composition of the Victorian economy. It is encouraging that Aboriginal women are seeing greater paid participation in the economy with 51.3 per cent of the working age population engaged in full and part time work in 2021.

The gap between the proportion of employed non-Aboriginal people and employed Aboriginal people decreased from 11.6 per cent to 9.1 per cent between 2016 and 2021. In 2022, Victoria reached its lowest level of unemployment rate since records began in 1978 with the Australian Bureau of Statistics.[1]

[1] Source:

Measure 9.1.2 Proportion employed in full-time versus part-time or casual employment

The proportion of Aboriginal Victorians employed on a full-time basis continues to increase. In 2021, 57.4 per cent of Aboriginal people are employed full time and 33.2 per cent part time. This is a 4.8 per cent decrease in full time employment and a 9.6 per cent increase in part time employment over the past 15 years.

Aboriginal women are far more likely to be employed part time than male Aboriginal Victorians. This trend is reflected in the non-Aboriginal population, so it is likely a reflection of the gendered nature of paid and unpaid labour within the Victorian economy. The proportion of Victorian Aboriginal women employed full time has decreased by 6.4 per cent over the past 15 years. It should be noted that the 2021 Census was conducted during the COVID-19 pandemic and may have affected self-reported employment results.

Measure 9.1.3 Aboriginal jobseekers supported into work

The number of Aboriginal Victorians supported into work placements by Jobs Victoria is at an all-time high. In 2022, Jobs Victoria supported the placement of 331 Aboriginal women and 451 Aboriginal men.

The conversion of these placements to at least 6 months of full or part-time work (Outcomes) is also high and growing. In 2021, 129 Aboriginal women and 143 Aboriginal men achieved Outcomes, representing a respective increase of 130.3 per cent and 113.4 per cent on 2020 figures. High Outcome rates are a good sign that the Jobs Victoria program is producing sustainable employment outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians.

Plan Champions Network

In 2022, funding provided through DJSIR place-based economic inclusion initiatives (including Community Revitalisation) was focused on supporting the Kaiela Institute to implement key priorities under the Goulburn Murray Regional Prosperity and Productivity Plan. This includes Kaiela working with major employers in the region to establish the ‘Plan Champions Network’.

Major employers in the region sign-on as a ‘Plan Champion’. This commits them to develop Aboriginal Participation Plans to increase employment of local Aboriginal people and procurement from First Nations businesses.

The Plan Champions Network provides a peer-to-peer opportunity to share learnings and experiences and establish a support group of like-minded organisations. Resources such as HR processes and cultural guidance are shared and adapted as required. In 2022, Kaiela worked closely with the first five priority plan champions to act as a demonstration pilot for subsequent roll-out to the wider group of employers in 2023.

9.2 Increase workforce participation for Aboriginal women

Measure 9.2.1 Workforce participation of women

Since 2006, the proportion of Aboriginal women in employment has steadily increased, reaching 55.2 per cent in 2021. In this time, Aboriginal women’s workforce participation (women employed and looking for employment) increased by 19.4 per cent to 60.6 per cent.

The number of women who are not employed or seeking employment has continued to grow, reaching 45.6 per cent. Barriers to employment such as caring duties, and experiences of racism and sexism play a factor in who can return to full and part time work.

9.3 Increase workforce participation for Aboriginal young people, people with a disability and people living in regional areas

Measure 9.3.1 workforce participation by age and disability status

Workforce participation by age

There has been a steady increase in the proportion of the Victorian Aboriginal population entering the workforce. The proportion of 15-24 year olds in employment rose by 14.6 per cent over the past 5 years (to 47.4 per cent of the population). A growth trend that has been accelerating over the past 10 years.

The greatest increase in proportion of Aboriginal people employed by age group is in those aged 65+ which grew to 15.3 per cent of the population, at a growth rate of 26.2 per cent over 5 years. This trend may be caused by increases in self-identification of Aboriginal Victorians.

Workforce participation by disability status

In 2021, 17.2 per cent of Aboriginal Victorians with a disability were employed. This represents an 18.6 per cent increase from 2016. 21.3 per cent of Aboriginal Victorians with a disability are currently participating in the workforce (people either in employment or currently looking for employment). This is the highest proportion in the past 15 years.

9.4 Increase Aboriginal leadership and representation across all sectors and levels

Measure 9.4.1 Aboriginal employment by sector, industry and occupation; with analysis by growth industry

Aboriginal Victorians are employed in all sectors of the Victorian economy. The proportional Aboriginal job growth between 2011 to 2021 has exceeded non-Aboriginal job growth in all industries, with the highest being 181.6 per cent in the Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services industry and the lowest being 31.4 per cent in the Manufacturing industry. However, Aboriginal Victorians continue to make up a small proportion of the Victorian workforce.

Aboriginal Victorians were more likely to work in the Victorian public sector than their non-Aboriginal peers in 2021. The majority of Aboriginal Victorians working in the Victorian public sector work in the Victorian Public Service.

The proportion of employed Aboriginal Victorians, relative to population, in industries with the highest income quartile is less than the proportion of employed non-Aboriginal Victorians. This may be due to systemic racism, and lack of equal opportunity which contributes to the pay gap between Aboriginal Victorians and non-Aboriginal Victorians.

Aboriginal Victorians are more likely to be employed as Professionals, making up 17.4 per cent of total employed Aboriginal Victorians in 2021. The Australian and New Zealand System of Classification for Occupations defines Professionals as skill level one, which means that the profession has a skill level of a bachelor degree or higher qualification. The industry with the greatest proportion of employed Aboriginal Victorians was the Arts and Recreation Services industry, at 16.5 per cent in 2021.

Measure 9.4.2 Aboriginal employees within the Victorian Public Service (VPS)

The number of Aboriginal employees within the VPS grew by 62 between 2020 and 2021. Existing Aboriginal employment strategies, such as the five-year Aboriginal employment strategy, Barring Djinang 2012-2022, may have contributed to this increase. However, the proportion of Aboriginal employees in the VPS has remained at 1.2 per cent since 2018. This highlights the need for the VPS to continue to transform its processes to improve employment opportunities for Aboriginal Victorians.

Measure 9.4.3 Number of Aboriginal people at VPS 6 level and above in the VPS

The proportion of Aboriginal employees at VPS grade 6 and above, relative to the number of Aboriginal employees in the VPS, reached an all-time high at 12.8 per cent in 2021 (up by 2.8 per cent since 2020). The proportion of non-Aboriginal employees in the same VPS grades, relative to the number of non-Aboriginal employees in the VPS, was 24.8 per cent in 2021 – almost double the proportion of Aboriginal employees.

Measure 9.4.4 Number of Aboriginal people participating on Victorian Government boards

The proportion of Aboriginal Victorians on Victorian Government boards reached 1.6 per cent and the number of Aboriginal Victorian members increased to 112 (up by 25 members) in 2021. This proportion exceeds the proportion of Aboriginal population in the state by 0.6 per cent. When looking at the proportion of Aboriginal Victorians on Victorian Government boards by departments, for two out of nine departments, the proportion is less than the proportion of Aboriginal population in the state. More needs to be done by these departments to increase Aboriginal representation.

Barring Djinang Aboriginal Employment Strategy

The Victorian Government’s current five-year strategy to enhance Aboriginal employment outcomes across the Victorian public sector, led by the Victorian Public Sector Commission (VPSC), has delivered multiple initiatives to enhance attraction, recruitment and retention of Aboriginal staff. This includes targeted employment programs and career development and support for staff, as well as programs aimed at strengthening Aboriginal leadership capacity.

The current strategy is expiring in 2023. In 2022, the VPSC conducted an external evaluation on the strategy and its programs, which was undertaken by an Aboriginal consultancy (PwC’s Indigenous Consulting, itself a majority Indigenous owned, led and staffed consulting firm).

Work on a new Barring Djinang Strategy for 2023-2028 is underway in partnership with Aboriginal public sector employees and broader Aboriginal community members and organisations.

The extension of the Barring Djinang Advisory Group and Barring Djinang Community of Practice has continued to ensure wider consultation. Direct feedback from Aboriginal participants of Barring Djinang programs has been actively and regularly sought to help ensure that the new programs will continue to meet the needs of Aboriginal employees.

The new strategy will build on the successes learnings from the first five years, and continue to drive positive employment outcomes for Aboriginal Victorians in the public sector.

Goal 10: Aboriginal income potential is realised


Measures under Goal 10 have remained stable

Aboriginal workers took home in 2021 an estimated $1.81 billion in income. A growth of over $1 billion since 2016.

Although great gains have been made, Aboriginal Victorians still experience the effects of being locked out the economy. Participation in the economy has been limited through historical and structural racism and an economic system based in the dispossession of their lands and waters

Data note

All measures under this goal are reported on.

Closing the Gap – Relevant Outcomes and Targets for Goal 10

The National Agreement does not contain outcomes and targets that align with this VAAF goal. Victoria is pursuing more ambitious and comprehensive goals under the VAAF, which are reported on in this chapter and the Data Dashboard.

Closing the Gap – How Victoria is tracking nationally

Not applicable.

10.1 Increase Victoria's Aboriginal gross income and decrease the opportunity cost of Aboriginal income inequality

Measure 10.1.1 Victoria’s Aboriginal income as sum of all income earned by Aboriginal workers

Aboriginal Victorians make a significant and valuable contribution to the Victorian economy, with an aggregated income of $1.811 billion per annum, almost 5 times more than the aggregated income of $381 million per annum in 2006 and more than doubling the aggregated income of $750 million per annum in 2016. Despite workforce participation steadily increasing, Aboriginal Victorians continue to experience a pay gap when compared to non-Aboriginal Victorians. In 2021, on average, Aboriginal Victorians earned around 19 cents less per dollar than non-Aboriginal Victorians. The potential for Aboriginal Victorians aggregated income to grow even further and the pay gap between Aboriginal Victorians and non-Aboriginal Victorians to reduce has been hindered by a multitude of factors including differences in employment by occupation and industry, discriminatory employment practices, and gender inequality experienced by Aboriginal Victorians.

Measure 10.1.2 Opportunity cost: Aboriginal gross income at parity minus actual

The opportunity cost of not having an Aboriginal workforce and income parity has increased from $360 million per annum in 2016 to $561 million per annum in 2021. Realising Aboriginal workforce potential and reaching income parity is critical and could impact outcomes in the other domains.

Digital inclusion

The National Agreement includes a socioeconomic outcome and target for digital inclusion. This is relevant to Domain 3 of the VAAF but does not align directly to any VAAF goals or measures.

Outcome 17: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have access to information and services enabling participation in informed decision-making regarding their own lives.

Target 17: By 2026, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have equal levels of digital inclusion.

Closing the Gap – How Victoria is tracking nationally

In 2014–15, 73.5% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over across Australia accessed the internet in their home, compared to 89.5% in Victoria.

There are no comparable data on home access to the internet for non-Indigenous people.

This outcome relies on data from National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Survey. No new data is available since the baseline year of 2014–15.

Domain 3: Victorian Government Investment and Action

The key Aboriginal Governance Forum for realising outcomes in this Domain is the Yuma Yirramboi Council.

The Victorian Government is committed to building a strong and competitive economy that provides opportunity, choice and prosperity for Aboriginal Victorians.

Aboriginal economic development

Yuma Yirramboi (Invest in Tomorrow) Strategy

In June 2022, Yuma Yirramboi (Invest in Tomorrow) Strategy was launched with a $25 million funding envelope to support the Strategy’s implementation. The Strategy articulates the Victorian Government and Victorian Aboriginal Communities’ shared vision to support wealth creation and achieve economic parity for Aboriginal Victorians within a generation.

Yuma Yirramboi Strategy was led and developed by the former Victorian Aboriginal Employment and Economic Council’s (VAEEC) Koori Caucus and Aboriginal Victorians. Yuma Yirramboi Strategy has been built on the following six pillars: culture, people, business, wealth creation, jobs, and accountability.

Yuma Yirramboi Council and Koori Caucus

Yuma Yirramboi Council (Council) is DJSIR’s advisory body on Aboriginal Community priorities and replaces the inaugural Victorian Aboriginal Employment and Economic Council. The Council is a key enabler towards achieving shared self-determination goals. The Koori Caucus of the Council provides expert advice to the Victorian Government and DJSIR Secretary and wider leadership on policy and programs designed to improve Aboriginal economic outcomes and enable shared decision-making. The first meeting of the newly appointed Koori Caucus was held in October 2022.

Traditional Owner Economic Development Program

The Creating Jobs and Supporting Economic Recovery for Aboriginal Victorians grant program supports business-ready projects and provides short-term employment outcomes. This includes investment of approximately $16 million to support 11 Traditional Owner Corporations in 2021-22. Further funding under this program also supported two Aboriginal Controlled Community Organisations towards social enterprise projects.

2022 Kinaway Business Awards

DJSIR are the major sponsor of the Kinaway Business Awards Night, hosted and presented by Kinaway Aboriginal Chamber of Commerce. The awards celebrate and champion Kinaway members and partners in the Aboriginal business sector in Victoria who are doing outstanding work in their fields. The awards recognise Kinaway members who have shown strength, resilience, and innovation in their businesses over the past twelve months and acknowledge Kinaway partners who have demonstrated their commitment to working with the Aboriginal business sector in Victoria.

Geelong Aboriginal Business Hub

In 2022, DJSIR provided funding to support and resource the fit out and establishment of the Ngarrimili Geelong Aboriginal Business Hub (the Hub) within the Westfield Shopping Complex in Geelong. The Hub will provide facilities and a base of operations for a range of supports to the Victorian Aboriginal business and artist community within the Geelong region. The Hub is due to open to Aboriginal businesses in 2023.

Trade Routes

In July 2022, Global Victoria and DJSIR hosted an inbound delegation of Māori businesses to Victoria. A two-day program was organised and delivered providing an opportunity for Victorian Aboriginal businesses to meet with Māori businesses. In 2022, the Victorian Government also funded RMIT to deliver the Trade Routes program to support Aboriginal companies to become more export ready and engage internationally.

Sport and recreation

Aboriginal Sport Participation Grant (ASPG) program

The ASPG program provides a single-entry point for Aboriginal Victorians to access funding that will assist in addressing a range of barriers to community sport participation across the state. The ASPG program provides funding of $100,000 over two rounds to the Aboriginal community to increase participation in carnivals and community sport. The Program has been highly popular, with the recent Round 4 being significantly over-subscribed.

Get Active Kids Voucher Program

In 2022, 1,821 applicants identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander in the Get Active Kids Voucher Program, four per cent of all applications submitted under Rounds 4 and 5.

Together More Active (TMA) Program

The TMA program provides grants that assist organisations in the sport and active recreation sector with initiatives that increase inclusive participation and enhance sector capability. Recent investments through TMA include $10,000 to the Victorian Aboriginal Community Services Association Limited (VACSAL) towards junior state-wide netball and football carnivals, and $50,000 to Surfing Victoria towards the Indigenous surfing carnivals (with funding for this initiative also provided by VicHealth).

Community Service Agreements

DJSIR is continuing to work to embed Aboriginal outcomes in funding agreements including Community Service Agreements with Professional Clubs, such as Melbourne Football Club, North Melbourne Football Club and St Kilda Football Club, as part of major infrastructure investments.


Traditional Owner led Native Food and Botanicals Strategy

In 2022, Agriculture Victoria continued to fund the implementation of the Traditional Owner Native Food and Botanicals Strategy, providing a pathway to capture economic benefits and Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property in native food and botanicals.

The Strategy recognises Traditional Owners rights to restore and reclaim custodianship of their knowledge and practices associated with native species and ensure the native foods and botanicals sector is a culturally safe and ethical industry that benefits custodians and their communities. The Strategy provides a policy and practice framework for an effective Traditional Owner-led native foods and botanicals industry.

Djakitjuk Djanga Grant Program

Agriculture Victoria and FVTOC partnered to support Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians to lead the development of Victoria’s native food and botanicals industry through the Djakitjuk Djanga (meaning Country’s food in Jaara language) grant program. The program awarded 13 Aboriginal businesses and organisations grants to develop native food and botanical enterprises.

Aboriginal Landholder Information Service

The Aboriginal Landholder Information Service works with Aboriginal landholders to assist them to improve economic activity on their land through best practice agricultural production and contemporary land and biodiversity management.

In 2022, the program continued to support Djakitjuk Djanga grant recipients with information, advice, and connections to technical experts within Agriculture Victoria. It also actively contributed to the success of the Djakitjuk Djanga Community of Practice facilitated by FVTOC.

Agricultural College Modernisation Program

The $50 million Agricultural College Modernisation Program is delivering the agriculture skills of the future and helping more Victorians pursue exciting careers in agriculture.

As part of the program in 2022, the Victorian Government announced the $15 million Agriculture TAFE and Training Fund and $5.5 million Secondary Schools Agriculture Fund. Both funds aim to ensure Victoria’s agricultural education and training system incorporates Aboriginal knowledge and practices and improves cultural safety and inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

An ACMP Aboriginal working group was created to identify the cultural safety and agriculture education priorities of Aboriginal Victorians. The working group provides advice to Agriculture Victoria about the design and delivery of the program, with the aim of increasing Aboriginal involvement in agricultural education through the ACMP.

Commonwealth Games

First Peoples are being recognised from the outset of the Commonwealth Games planning, placing them at the heart of Victoria 2026. First Peoples representatives were on the world stage at the Birmingham closing ceremony – the first time Aboriginal people have invited a Commonwealth Games to their land.

The Office of Commonwealth Games and Organising Committee are providing funding to Traditional Owners to support their resourcing of Games-related planning and activities. First Peoples' voices are embedded in Games governance, with the First Peoples Leadership Group established formally as a subcommittee of the Organising Committee.

Creative Victoria

First Peoples Direction Circle

The Creative Victoria First Peoples Directions Circle (formally known as the First Peoples Partnership Group) was established in 2019, to embed Aboriginal self-determination and community voice throughout Victoria’s next creative industries strategy, Creative State 2025 – with, and for the benefit of, First Peoples creative industries throughout Victoria.

The First Peoples Directions Circle is a partnership with Creative Victoria - with shared authority and decision-making responsibility for the implementation of all First Peoples programs, strategic initiatives, and directions.

The First Peoples Direction Circle ensured that the 11 Guiding Principles of Aboriginal Self-Determination were named in Creative State 2025.

First Peoples Creative Industries Forum

Creative State 2025 commits to the establishment of an annual First Peoples Creative Industries Forum to celebrated and grow Victoria’s First Peoples creative industries sector. The inaugural Forum had the theme of ‘Strong culture, creative future’. Originally programmed as a live event at Arts Centre Melbourne, to keep First Peoples communities as safe as possible, the Forum pivoted to four online webinars held over two weeks in late November 2021, followed up by a regional roadshow in 2022.

Creative Victoria Grants - First Peoples Funding

Creative State 2025 has committed to dedicated First Peoples funding streams across all Creative Victoria grants programs. The input of the First Peoples Direction Circle and First Peoples external creative peers into the program design and assessment process has ensured that they are culturally safe and adhere to Aboriginal cultural ways of working. As a result, more First Peoples creatives are applying for support, with higher success rates across all grant rounds.

Tourism and events

First Peoples’ Tourism Plan

First Peoples’ tourism has been identified as a priority tourism ‘pillar’ for Victoria with competitive strengths and significant growth potential for Victoria’s visitor economy.

The Visitor Economy Recovery and Reform Plan and Regional Tourism Review identified this opportunity, and the Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR) has commenced work on the development of a First Peoples’ Tourism Plan.

The First Peoples’ Tourism Plan will work to empower local communities to develop their own tourism products, unify strategies that are already in place and identify opportunities to enhance cultural experiences by linking existing First Peoples’ tourism products.

DJSIR has provided funding and recruitment support to two Registered Aboriginal Parties (RAPs) to each onboard a VPS5 equivalent tourism officer to undertake tourism product analysis and development of a Cultural Tourism Plan. By December 2022 positions in both Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation and Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation had been successfully filled.

First Peoples Infrastructure Projects

Investment in Victoria’s visitor economy is focused on building a strong pipeline of demand-driving infrastructure, by facilitating infrastructure planning, and providing investment for shovel-ready tourism projects.

DJSIR is developing a Tourism Investment Toolkit to support current and potential investors. The Toolkit has supported self-determination through an engagement process led by First Peoples, Traditional Owners and Aboriginal majority-owned businesses to inform the deliverables within the Toolkit.

In addition, the Victorian Government has invested in key infrastructure including:

Flagship Tourism Infrastructure Projects
  • Brambuk Cultural Centre Revitalisation – funding for Barengi Gadjin Land Council, Eastern Maar Aboriginal Corporation and Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation through Parks Victoria - $5.8 million
  • Tourism funding for Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation including development at the Dalki Garringa Native Nursery site - $350,000
Regional Tourism Investment Fund - Stimulus

Welcome to Dja Dja Wurrung Country Castlemaine - Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation and Mount Alexander Shire Council - $400,000

Regional Tourism Investment Projects
  • Budj Bim – Development of visitor experiences at Lake Condah and the Tae Rak Traps - Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation - $7,000,000
  • Central Goldfields Art Gallery Indigenous Interpretive Garden – Stage 2 & 3 – partnership between Central Goldfields Shire Council and Dja Dja Wurrung - $225,000
Enabling Tourism Fund
  • Budj Bim Strategic Investment Plan - Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation - $575,000
  • Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) Gunya Yanakie Nanjet Brautalung - Feasibility Study, Business Case, Concept Designs - $430,000
  • Ned’s Corner Biocultural Precinct – First People of the Millewa Mallee – Feasibility Study - $200,000
  • Victorian Cultural Collections Lab - City of Greater Bendigo in partnership with Dja Dja Wurrung Aboriginal Clans Corporation - $120,000
  • Narana Wildlife and Botanical Educational Facilities in Grovedale Masterplan - $27,600

Aboriginal Community Infrastructure Program

The Aboriginal Community Infrastructure Program (ACIP) is a grants program which enables community-controlled Aboriginal organisations to build new fit-for-purpose infrastructure or to repair, refurbish or expand existing infrastructure. Funding is also available for organisations to develop fully scoped and costed feasibility study/business cases to explore their options and plan future infrastructure projects.

In July 2022, the Minister for Treaty and First Peoples approved funding of $11,078,992 to 21 Aboriginal-controlled organisations. The 2022-23 funding package included $2,018,086 for nine repairs and minor works projects; $8,8760,906 for six capital works and upgrades projects; and $300,000 for six feasibility studies/business cases projects.

ACIP is strongly aligned with the Closing the Gap Priority Reform Two: Building the Community-Controlled Sector.

Local Government

Victorian Aboriginal and Local Government Strategy

Funding of $140,000 was provided to Reconciliation Victoria to develop, design and initiate activities that facilitate greater awareness and understanding of the Victorian Aboriginal and Local Government Strategy.

Your Community, Country and Council

The former Minister for Local Government, Hon Shaun Leane MP announced a grant of $50,000 to the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) to continue the Your Community, Country & Council project for the 2021-22 year. This 12-month project seeks to evaluate the 2020 project and co-design a project plan and content for delivery ahead of the next local government elections in 2024. A First Nations-identified Steering Committee has been engaged to drive the 2021-22 project and determine priorities.

Regional Development

Regional Economic Development Strategies

DJSIR undertook engagement with Traditional Owners across Victoria’s regions to develop Victoria’s Regional Economic Development Strategies (REDS). The REDS and supporting analysis used those engagements to inform the impact of strategic directions for economic growth on Aboriginal Victorians and Traditional Owners. DJSIR continues to engage with Traditional Owners to inform the implementation of the REDS.

Women’s Portfolio

Ngarrimili - Empowering First Nations Women in Business

This program supported by DFFH with $420,000 over two years supports First Nations women (including business owners, creatives and entrepreneurs) by providing one-on-one personally tailored support, along with 10 workshops covering a range of different topics, including accounting and financial advice, wellbeing supports, business planning, grant writing, website development and business goal settings. It is anticipated that 80 First Nations women will be supported through the program, with 40 women participating in 2022-23.