Vic truth-telling inquiry member resigns

·1-min read

Victoria's Indigenous truth-telling inquiry has lost its third key member in six months, just weeks before the release of its interim report.

Dr Wayne Atkinson, a Yorta Yorta-Dja Dja Wurrung elder, tendered his resignation as one of the five commissioners on the Yoorrook Justice Commission, citing personal reasons.

In a statement on Thursday, chair Eleanor Bourke thanked Dr Atkinson for his contribution to the Australia's first truth-telling commission.

"We are very sorry that he has decided to step down but support his decision to do what is best for himself and his family," she said.

"Commissioner dhamangalnya Atkinson has guided Yoorrook through its first year of operation with wisdom and provided a deep cultural context to its work."

It comes after the inquiry's chief executive Josh Smith and the director of his office Alexandra Krummel quit their roles in January, with deputy chair Sue-Anne Hunter rubbishing suggestions of discord in the ranks.

Hugh de Kretser, Human Rights Law Centre executive director and Victorian Sentencing Advisory Council director, was appointed as Mr Smith's replacement from July.

The commission's interim report is due at the end of June and Professor Bourke has confirmed it will be published in early July.

The inquiry has held a number of on-country visits with local elders and public hearings in recent months following COVID-related disruptions in 2021.

Yoorrook has until June 2024 to establish an official public record of Indigenous experiences since the start of colonisation, with its findings to guide Victoria's treaty negotiations.

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