Voice Of Aboriginal Victoria Shared In Canberra

The Andrews Labor Government and Victorian Aboriginal leaders will travel to Canberra this week to discuss a new approach to Closing the Gap.

Six highly respected Aboriginal leaders with expertise across treaty, self-determination, child protection, youth, justice and economic development will join Premier Daniel Andrews at a Special Gathering of Indigenous leaders and First Ministers to share the voice of Aboriginal Victorians.

Victoria’s representatives are Jill Gallagher AO (Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner), Andrew Jackomos, Muriel Bamblett, Indi Clarke, Karen Heap and Tony Lovett.

Victoria is taking a self-determination approach to the refresh of the Closing the Gap agenda, launching a six-month state-wide engagement process to ensure that the voice, knowledge and priorities of Aboriginal Victorians are reflected in national discussions.

To start this process, Aboriginal Victorians from across the state came together last week to have their say on the Framework and to inform the key themes that the six representatives would take to Canberra. These include:

  • The need to uphold community decisions, including the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Makaratta (Treaty) and an Indigenous voice to Parliament
  • A self-determination approach, with community setting and delivering targets
  • Aboriginal-led oversight of government spending and performance within Aboriginal affairs
  • Adopting a strengths-based, not a deficit approach, to Aboriginal affairs
  • Prioritising cultural confidence, including language
  • Prioritising the rights relating to the collection, ownership and use of data that is collected by Aboriginal Controlled Organisations

The Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner Jill Gallagher AO will attend the Council of Australian Governments on Friday as Victoria’s representative to report on the outcomes of the Gathering.

The Victorian Budget 2017/18 provided $134 million for a range of initiatives to support self-determination, empower communities, build cultural strength, and provide support for health, education and mentoring.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins

“The Andrews Labor Government has ensured the voice of Aboriginal Victorians is heard on matters that directly affect their lives – including the national Close the Gap agenda.”

“The six Victorian Aboriginal leaders attending the Gathering are deeply connected to community and the needs of Aboriginal Victoria. They have listened and will make sure they are put on the national agenda.”