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The Victorian Government acknowledges the work of the Yoorrook Justice Commission (Commission) and the submission of its second interim report, Yoorrook for Justice (the Report).

We thank all those individuals, organisations, and community members who participated in this Inquiry, through written submissions, hearings and roundtables. We acknowledge the significance of the evidentiary records produced and shared in relation to Victoria’s truth-telling process.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Victorian Government proudly acknowledges the First Peoples of Victoria as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the land and waterways on which we live and work.

We honour and pay our respects to Elders past and present. We acknowledge that Aboriginal peoples continue to represent the world’s oldest living culture. 

In working towards Treaty, the Victorian Government is committed to acknowledging the truth of Victoria’s history and laying the foundations for improved relationships between the State, Aboriginal Victorians and the broader Victorian community.

The Victorian Government is committed to First Peoples’ self-determination. Treaty is the process required to ensure genuine self-determination for Victorian Traditional Owners and First Peoples. 

Foreword from the Premier

As Premier of Victoria, I am deeply moved by the stories and truths shared through the Yoorrook for Justice report.

These stories demonstrate First Peoples’ strength, resilience and connection. These stories also carry the weight of profound intergenerational pain and trauma.

I acknowledge the trauma experienced by many First Peoples who shared their truths during the Commission’s inquiry into Victoria's child protection and criminal justice systems. 

Every Yoorrook Justice Commission inquiry allows the Victorian Government to develop a deeper understanding of how past injustices have influenced modern-day institutions, policies and approaches. 

Our path forward will be guided by the experiences of First Peoples. The Yoorrook Justice Commission’s truth-telling process will help to inform how the Victorian Government moves toward Treaty. 

It is a journey that we undertake with humility and determination, acknowledging that the road to achieve real change is long but essential. We are committed to working together to create a Victoria that is inclusive, just and reflective of our shared values.

Victorians have listened, learned and had to confront hard truths, but from these hearings we can create a brighter shared future. As we come to terms with our past, we can also learn from and celebrate thousands of years of strong Aboriginal culture. 

As Premier, I am honoured to be part of this significant moment in our history and am committed to this journey, ensuring that the experiences and truths of First Peoples, as outlined in the Report, are understood, as we work together for meaningful and lasting outcomes. 

When Aboriginal Victorians thrive, all Victorians thrive. 

The Hon. Jacinta Allan MP
Premier of Victoria

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

Response to the Yoorrook for Justice report

Annexure A - Responses to Yoorrook for Justice report recommendations

Category 1: Transformative change through the Treaty Process

Category 2: Urgent reforms of accountability, cultural competence, and compliance with human and cultural rights

Category 3: Urgent reforms to the child protection system

Category 4: Urgent reforms to the criminal justice system

Category 5: Law reform to enable truth telling