Treaty negotiation planning to begin ahead of elections
Final preparations for treaty negotiations in Victoria are set to begin ahead of general elections for the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria, as the state moves closer to a historic agreement with Indigenous people.
Elected members of the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria will gather in Melbourne this week for their final meeting of the first term.
They aim to finalise plans for treaty negotiations that will begin after the assembly's second general election in May.
Assembly co-chair and Nira illim bulluk man Marcus Stewart said a formal statement would outline the assembly's intention to negotiate the state-wide treaty.
The treaty is part of a push to combat issues affecting Indigenous communities in the areas of health, education and justice, and to drive systemic reform.
The First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria is the democratic voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as they negotiate a treaty.
"Very early in the process we agreed that we needed many Treaties in Victoria so Traditional Owners could focus on their areas, but we also knew we'd need a state-wide Treaty that can tackle the big overarching state-wide issues," Mr Stewart said in a statement.
Assembly co-chair and Bangerang and Wiradjuri elder Aunty Geraldine Atkinson said the process was history in the making.
"This is it - Treaty is going to happen in Victoria. You can either sit on the sidelines or you can get involved and help decide how strong our Treaty is," she said in a statement.
"This is about putting Aboriginal people in the driver's seat so we can make a real difference to our communities. Get on board and be counted."
Last year, a landmark Treaty Authority Bill passed in the lower house of the Victorian parliament.
The legislation, the first of its kind, is designed to ensure a fair and just reconciliation process for Indigenous people.
Led by First Nations people and grounded in their culture, lore and law, the bill allows for an independent Treaty Authority to oversee treaty negotiations and help resolve disputes.