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Message from the Minister for Treaty and First Peoples

I present the Victorian Government’s response to the Yoorrook for Justice report. The Report is the culmination of the Commission’s year-long inquiry into Victoria's child protection and criminal justice systems.

As a Government, our response to this Report is guided by the comprehensive truth-telling process undertaken by the Yoorrook Justice Commission.

The Commission's dedication to hearing directly from those affected is recorded in more than 100 individual testimonies and numerous organisational submissions received throughout the public hearings, roundtable discussions and on-site visits. This process has not only brought to light the experiences of many who have suffered in the child protection and criminal justice systems, but also underscored the critical need for change.

The statistics and stories presented in the Report paint a clear picture of the ongoing injustices faced by First Peoples in Victoria. I recognise the decades of activism undertaken by First Peoples to fight for truth-telling to ensure the impacts of colonisation are recognised and addressed.

The Yoorrook for Justice report challenges us to look critically at our systems, to acknowledge past failures, and to commit to a path of reform. As a Government, our response is driven by a responsibility to honour the voices of those who courageously shared their experiences and a commitment to implementing the changes necessary to ensure just and equitable treatment of First Peoples in the child protection and criminal justice systems.

I am aware that the proposed reforms outlined in the Report are significant. Our response seeks to target historical and contemporary injustices through reforms to our child protection and criminal justice systems, guided by respect for First Peoples’ cultural rights. Our approach will be one of reflection, partnership, learning and action, ensuring that the changes we implement are effective and enduring.

I remain steadfast in my commitment to listening to First Peoples, cooperatively engaging with the Commission and supporting the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria on the path to Treaty. I look forward to continuing to walk alongside First Peoples on the path to self-determination and working to create a better, fairer Victoria.

The Hon. Natalie Hutchins MP
Minister for Treaty and First Peoples