The Hon. Gabrielle Williams is the Minister for Prevention of Family Violence, Minister for Women and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Gabrielle Williams states, Building a fairer future for our state means making sure Aboriginal Victorians get the support — and the say – they need and deserve. That’s why this year, we’re delivering Victoria’s biggest investment in Aboriginal communities, ever. Throughout the pandemic, Aboriginal communities and the Government have worked in close partnership, with the COVID-19 Aboriginal Community Taskforce delivering community-led support for Aboriginal people. The Minister speaks to Gman on 3KND's Big Brekkie.
The Victorian Budget 2020/21 builds on that partnership, investing $357 million to strengthen self-determination, enhance access to education, provide better housing and health support, and improve the lives of Aboriginal Victorians across all spheres of life. As we rebuild our state, we want to build a stronger Victoria. That means it’s essential that all Victorians – no matter their background or where they live – have the opportunities in life they deserve. It’s why this Budget funds the ongoing journey to Treaty with First Nations people, with $20.2 million to continue these landmark negotiations.
This funding will support the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria – the state’s first and only democratically-elected body for Aboriginal people – to continue their Treaty work and ensure even more community voices are heard. This work will be supported by the Truth and Justice Process announced earlier this year – a healing process for our state that will recognise historic wrongs and address ongoing injustices. To help Aboriginal communities continue to rebuild from the pandemic, the Budget provides a $40 million fund to expand the Aboriginal community, health and family violence workforce.
Aboriginal Victorians know what’s best for their families, so that’s why Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) will continue to drive local responses, directing support wherever they think it’s most needed. The investment builds on support provided by the Andrews Labor Government earlier this year, including mental health and telehealth services, outreach support for people sleeping rough, and emergency relief such as food, clothing and other essentials for Aboriginal Victorians doing it tough as a result of the pandemic. Expanding on Victoria’s nation-leading work in child protection, $74.1 million will go to reforming out-of-home care services and ensuring Aboriginal family case management control is in the hands of ACCOs.
The Labor Government is also investing $7.3 million to support businesses, ACCOs and Traditional Owner Groups, with financial training and leadership courses. The investment also includes $1 million to establish the Victorian Aboriginal Employment and Economic Council to give Aboriginal Victorians a voice in the Government’s economic policy and development. To help Aboriginal students reach their full potential, the Budget provides more than $10 million to deploy tutors for kids that need extra help to catch-up and to continue rolling out the Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan.
“Victoria’s Aboriginal community hold the knowledge and expertise about what is best for themselves, their families and their communities – in these unprecedented times, that knowledge is crucial.” “While it is fantastic to see Victoria opening back up again, we know the impacts of the pandemic will be longlasting.” “I encourage more Aboriginal Victorians and organisations to apply for funding so we can drive more culturally safe, locally based responses to the pandemic.