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 Victoria

Last edited: April 3, 2024

To date, Victoria is the most advanced jurisdiction in Australia on the journey towards treaty with First Nations Peoples. Even so, the process has not been without it’s complications and betrayals.

LATEST

  • Victorian Liberal-National Coalition withdraws its support for treaty, citing cultural heritage concerns and ending years of bipartisan support
  • The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria says the opposition position will not change negotiations towards treaty, which is ‘definitely’ not over.

BACKGROUND

The contemporary path to treaty in Victoria began in 2016, when the the Victorian government made a commitment to First Nations Victorians to enter into discussions about a treaty or treaties. Following an Aboriginal Victoria Forum in May 2016, the Victorian government established an Aboriginal Treaty Working Group to lead a consultation process. The Working Group was composed entirely of First Nations people with a balance between male and female representatives.

Initial consultations took place at 10 locations across Victoria in the second half of 2016. A further six consultations were held in March 2017 to refine the structure and framework of the body. In the 2017–2018 budget, the Victorian government committed to provide $28.5 million to progress the Treaty process. Funding included provision for an Aboriginal Community Assembly to discuss and provide further advice on the design of a representative body, and a Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission to operationalise the outcomes of the Community Assembly.

In June 2018, legislation was passed to establish a legislative basis for negotiating a Treaty with Aboriginal people in the State. Importantly, consistent with the principle and purpose of Treaty, the legislation was drafted in partnership with the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission.

In late 2018, a state-wide representative body, the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, was also established. for the First Peoples’
Assembly of Victoria were held in 2019. The election of the Assembly marked the conclusion of the first phase of the Victorian Treaty process.

Phase 2 began in August 2020. That month, the First Peoples Assembly and the State government began to work together in partnership to establish a Treaty negotiation framework.

On 10 June 2022, the Treaty Authority was formally signed at the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria chamber meeting.

On 20 October 2022, the Victorian government and First Peoples Assembly of Victoria agreed to the Treaty Negotiation Framework. The Framework outlines who can enter Treaty negotiations, how negotiations should be conducted, and the need for state-wide and local Treaties in order to secure First Nations peoples self-determination.

In January 2024, the Victorian Opposition abandoned their support for the previously bipartisan Treaty negotiation framework in the state, citing cultural heritage concerns. The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria said the news was “disappointing, but not surprising,” and insisted that the withdrawal of support would not change much in terms of the tangible process and clear path toward treaty.

Further Reading

Treaty in Vic Factsheet

To read a more in depth account of Treaty in Victoria, 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