Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) calls on Victorian Parliament to pass the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Bill
Date: 31st May 2018
VACCA is an Aboriginal community controlled organisation with forty years of working in the field of child and family services. During this time we have continually advocated for our right to self-determination. Many of our staff, members and Board are Aboriginal and traditional owners in Victoria which is why we support the inclusive nature of the treaty process underway.
"VACCA sees the current Treaty process as a critical step towards achieving self-determination for our communities. The current Bill before Parliament while not a treaty, is an essential step that will set up the representative body, Treaty Authority and self-determination fund. The process will be long and demanding. We must be engaged in this once-in-lifetime opportunity and I urge all Aboriginal people to get involved and be part of the process." - Muriel Bamblett, VACCA CEO.
In February 2016, the Andrews Government, based on its policy of support for Aboriginal self-determination listened to the calls of the Victorian Aboriginal community and committed to working towards a treaty. These calls have echoed through our community since 1788 and this process is long overdue.
The Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Bill 2018 that is to be debated in Parliament next week is a significant step towards achieving self-determination. However, it only maps the process of setting up a representative Aboriginal body. We believe the current Bill is inclusive and a positive statement of intent towards negotiations with Victorian Aboriginal Communities. To date thousands of our people have contributed to the process. The Treaty Advancement Commission has been charged with establishing the Aboriginal Representative Body, and is currently conducting state wide community gatherings. We encourage all Aboriginal Victorians to attend and engage with these important discussions. VACCA recognises and supports the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council as the representative Elders body for Victoria.
When negotiated and settled a treaty will improve the lives of all Victorian Aboriginal people by recognising the past and by providing tangible outcomes to secure a better future. It is about resetting the relationship between Aboriginal people and the wider Victorian community thereby creating a stronger, more unified community. It is about justice and truth telling. As we celebrate Reconciliation Week with the theme of “Don’t keep history a mystery”, our community is reminded of the determination and struggle our Elders, community members and ancestors have fought to get us here today.
Muriel Bamblett, Adjunct Professor AM