New name, more rights for traditional owners

The independent organisation which will support Aboriginal communities to negotiate treaty has now been named.

The First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria will begin operating later this year – until now it’s been known as the Aboriginal Representative Body.

“Aboriginal Representative Body was a temporary name,” said the Treaty Advancement Commissioner, Jill Gallagher.

“The Assembly will be powerful, independent and culturally strong. It will bring our people together for a common cause. We feel the name reflects this,” she said.

The Commission is inviting the Victorian Aboriginal community to design the logo for the new company.

“The Assembly will be owned by the community. It’ll be your voice, and we want you to help build it,” said the Commissioner.

The creator of the winning logo will be awarded a $15,000 prize. The Commission is releasing Expressions of Interest today.

The Assembly will be set up in 2019. The process to set it up will include an election, mid-year, in which the Aboriginal Victorian community will elect Victorian traditional owners to sit on the Assembly.

The Commission has heard community feedback, and has changed the operating model proposed in September 2018.

These changes do not affect the reserved seats for formally recognised traditional owner groups.

The Commission is separately working on ways of supporting traditional owner groups that are yet to achieve formal recognition. We’ll continue to work with the community on this.

The Assembly will be made up of 33 Victorian traditional owners (21 elected, and 12 from formally recognised traditional owner groups).

The Assembly will begin its work later this year. It will help set up the Treaty Authority – an independent umpire during treaty negotiations – and create the Negotiation Framework, which will be the ‘road map’ to treaties.