Premier flags return of Indigenous artefacts held in UK

·2-min read

British institutions in possession of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artefacts have been put on notice following the passing of historic Path to Treaty legislation in Queensland.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk believes there's evidence of treaties and demands for treaties "held under lock and key" at the British Library in London.

A conversation with a First Nations elder during a regional sitting of parliament in Cairns this week also pointed to a wealth of artefacts held in the basement of the British Museum, Ms Palaszczuk said.

"These priceless artefacts will be better on display here at our cultural centre, where they belong," the premier said.

"I'm happy to go to London to get these artefacts back with our First Nations people."

The comments come as the state government announces its intention for a new First Nations Cultural Centre in the state's far north, as it progresses a business case for another centre in Brisbane.

"Cairns is an ideal home for a new First Nations Cultural Centre - it is a gateway to the reef and the rainforest, both of which flourish under the custodianship of our First Nations people," Ms Palaszczuk said.

Queensland's colonial history will be put under the microscope by a Truth-Telling and Healing Inquiry after a historic Path to Treaty bill was passed with bipartisan support on Wednesday.

More than 160 years earlier, one of the first orders of business for the newly established Queensland parliament was the clashes between settlers and Aboriginal people, Ms Palaszczuk said.

"It was described as an indiscriminate slaughter, but those stories passed into the pages of history have never been taught to our children," she told parliament on Thursday.

"For healing to begin, these truths and others must be told."

The new legislation also established a First Nations Treaty Institute to help inform and prepare communities for a future negotiation process.