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The Act was created in response to the Framlingham and Lake Tyers Aboriginal communities’ advocacy for land rights.

The Act granted freehold title over two former Victorian mission sites, Framlingham (in Southwest Victoria) and Lake Tyers (in Gippsland), to the residents of each community. People living at Framlingham and Lake Tyers on 1 January 1968 were gazetted as members of either the Framlingham or Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trusts and were then allocated shares. The Minister for Treaty and First Peoples and the Department of Premier and Cabinet are responsible for the administration of the Act.

Reviews of the Act were conducted in 2004 and 2013, resulting in minor amendments. However, the Act is now over 53 years old and has not kept pace with current laws, changes in attitudes, and policy developments in Victoria. Accordingly, in 2016 the Victorian Government committed to reviewing the Act with the objective of updating it to improve governance, enable greater self-determination, support community development practices, and provide the foundation towards self-sustainability for the Trust Communities.

In 2018, the Victorian Government appointed two Aboriginal independent reviewers, Mr Jason Behrendt and Mr Timothy Goodwin (the Reviewers), to lead the Review. Two rounds of consultations were held in 2018 and 2019 at the Trust Communities and surrounding locations. After the 2018 consultations, the Reviewers developed an Options Paper detailing possible amendments ranging from ‘no change’, ‘minor change’ to ‘major change’. Both Trust Communities were also supported to prepare a formal submission to the Review with legal assistance.

The Review concluded in September 2021. The Reviewers made 42 recommendations, including legislative amendments to the Act and non-legislative reforms. These recommendations and the Victorian Government’s responses are detailed below.