The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria is the voice for Aboriginal people in the next phase of the treaty process. It represents communities in setting the ground rules and treaty negotiating framework, including how treaties can be agreed in Victoria. It will also help set up the treaty authority, which will be an independent umpire through the treaty process.
Included in the process is a self-determination fund to enable Aboriginal communities to negotiate on a level playing field with the government. The assembly is made up of 32 seats – 21 determined in a vote of Aboriginal communities in September and October 2019, and 11 reserved for the formally recognised Traditional Owner groups.
Shepparton’s Parklake Hotel was the starting point for Victorian treaty community consultations undertaken by the recently elected First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.
During the assembly elections at the end of last year, three Victorian Traditional Owners from the state’s north east region were elected to the assembly, Leanne Miller, Geraldine Atkinson and Nartarsha Bamblett.
Ms. Atkinson, who also serves on the assembly as a co-chair said, “Community consultations are crucial to the assembly’s treaty process work.”
Community consultations are being held in the state’s other four regions during this week, with the next assembly general meeting being held in Melbourne at the end of February at the Melbourne based Aborigines Advancement League.