The Traditional Owners of this land are those who identify as
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Sovereignty was never ceded.

ANTAR pays respect to Elders past, present, and emerging through our dedicated advocacy for First Nations Peoples’ justice and rights.

ANTAR acknowledges the responsibility of committing to a truth-telling process that promotes an honest and respectful path forward for future generations to build upon.

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Treaty in the Australian Capital Territory

Last edited: April 3, 2024

In early 2023, the ACT government announced it would set up a First Nations Eminent Panel for Community Engagement and Healing to oversee processes of Treaty and Truth-telling in the ACT. While it was anticipated that the panel would be established by late 2023, no significant progress has been seen.

LATEST

  • In early 2023, the ACT government announces it will set up a First Nations Eminent Panel for Community Engagement and Healing to oversee processes of Treaty and Truth-telling in the ACT, with funding allocated for two years;
  • As of 2024, no significant updates regarding the setup of the Panel are available.

BACKGROUND

In 2018, the Australian Capital Territory Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs declared the ACT government was open to talking treaty with the First Nations peoples of the Canberra region. In the 2021-22 Budget, the Government provided $317,000 to facilitate a conversation with Traditional Owners about what treaty means in the ACT and what a treaty process could look like.

In March 2022, Professor Kerry Arabena was appointed to facilitate those preliminary talks.

In 2018, the ACT Government began talks to progress a Ngunnawal Territory Treaty. In March 2022, it established a $20 million Healing and Reconciliation Fund to help support this process, which included funding the preliminary-to-Treaty Healing Project facilitated by Karabena Consulting.

The ACT government’s consultation and recognition of only Ngunnawal peoples was followed by considerable controversy due to their failure to acknowledge the Ngambri peoples as traditional owners of the ACT regions. As of 27 April 2023, the Ngambri peoples have officially been acknowledged by the ACT government as traditional custodians of the Canberra region, alongside the Ngunnawal people, after a government apology.

In early 2023, the ACT government announced that it would set up a First Nations Eminent Panel for Community Engagement and Healing to oversee processes of Treaty and Truth-telling in the ACT. This panel, with funding allocated over two years, will develop Treaty and truth-telling pathways through advising culturally appropriate governance, mechanisms, and co-design of Voice, Treaty, and Truth.

As of 2024, the panel is still in the works.

Further Reading

Treaty in ACT Factsheet

To read a more in depth account of Treaty in NSW, you can access our Factsheet here

Other links

Resources
Report
ANTAR Impact Report Read
Media Release
ANTAR Response to Closing the Gap Review Read
Media Release
Statement on the Vic Opposition dropping support for Treaty Read
Media Release
ANTAR Statement on the Referendum outcome Read
More
Treaty
Treaty What is treaty? Read More
Treaty Tracing Treaty in Australia Read More
Treaty Treaties elsewhere Read More
Treaty Treaty in the States & Territories Read More