This week we saw the first stages of a State of Emergency declared in Victoria due to an alarming rise in cases of COVID-19 and the beginning of stage four restrictions across Metropolitan and Regional Victoria.
Amongst the upheaval of this International health crisis there is good news from the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria on the next steps towards Treaty.
On Monday August three a meeting was held between the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria and the State of Victoria to discuss timelines for negotiation on a framework and an interim dispute resolution.
The meeting outlined the way the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria and the State Government will work together.
Assembly Co-chair Marcus Stewart is a Nirra Illim Baluk man of the Taungurung Nation and he joined Balit Dhumba to tell us more about this historical meeting.
The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Victoria Gabrielle Williams joins Kirstyn Lindsay to talk about her contribution to the historical meeting.
Minister Williams was asked about her approach to some of the challenges that could be presented to the state government’s Ministerial Cabinet when it comes to releasing Crown land back to clans and where there may be a demand on policy and legislation changes on issues where the state generates income from natural resources.
She understand there will be challenges and she is making sure her team come to the process with an open mind and open heart and a commitment to do things differently.
Moving towards community aspirations and what could be considered in the framework, the Assembly is calling for submissions on areas of interest to work on the Treaty process and the Assembly’s governance.
The Assembly says submissions can include how you, your organisation and your community see the impacts of Treaties. This can also include challenges, how the Assembly can develop a strong Treaties process, how the Assembly can fulfil community aspirations and what you see as Treaty successes.
Submissions can be made in writing or by speaking with Assembly members or staff. Phone 1800 TREATY (1800 87 32 89) Find out more via www.firstpeoplesvic.org/news/call-for-submissions/
To contribute to community decisions on what can be considered in the framework the First Peoples Assembly of Victoria held an online forum in July asking for feedback on what could be included in a state-wide and local treaties based on the discussion paper Bundle of Rights.
Gunditjmara Assembly representative for Metropolitan Melbourne Rueben Berg says nothing should be left off the table and he made strong key key points that he unpacks on Balit Dhumba on how Treaty or Treaties will empower Traditional Owners in Victoria.
Here is the link to the discussion paper Bundle of Rights available on the First Peoples Assembly website.
To add to the cultural integrity of the Treaty journey in Victoria there has been a strong call for an Elders Voice. Coming up Tuesday August 11 is a Facebook livestream 'What is the Elders Voice?' hosted by the First Peoples Assembly.
Chair of the Elders Voice working group and First Peoples Assembly Representative Tracey Evans is a Gunditjmara woman and she says that it is an honour to be elected on the Assembly and to take on the role to support Elders to be involved in the Treaty process.
Tracey explains how Elders can get involved and she is encouraging community to contact Elders who may not have internet and are isolated during the COVID-19 restrictions.
The challenges of the pandemic make it hard to reach out to Elders and the community but she is hopeful and says it’s with support of an Elders Voice that future generations will have a better life because of their guidance.
First Peoples Assembly Victoria Parliament House: Photo James Ross/EPA.