The Path
to Treaty

Victoria is proud to be on the path to negotiating the nation’s first treaty with Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians. This is a significant moment in time and a chance to build new relationships and forge a new, shared future for Victoria.

Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians have long called for treaty and have made it clear there can be no self-determination without treaty.

Treaty will formally recognise and celebrate Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians' unique status, rights and cultures.

Treaty will benefit all Victorians by fostering shared pride in Aboriginal cultures and helping to heal the wounds of the past.

The path to treaty so far

  • Victorian Government commits to treaty

    Premier Daniel Andrews commits the state to embark on treaty discussions

    Mar 2016

  • Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission (VTAC) is established

    Jill Gallagher AO is appointed as Commissioner and work commences to establish an Aboriginal representative body

    Dec 2017

  • Treaty Act passes through Parliament

    The Act becomes the first piece of treaty-related legislation in Australia’s history. It sets out a pathway to treaty in Victoria

    Jun 2018

  • First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria is established

    Members of the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria are elected to represent Aboriginal people in the development of a framework for treaty negotiations. VTAC’s role comes to an end

    Dec 2019

  • Historic meeting between State and Assembly

    Victorian Government and the Assembly hold their first official meeting, kicking off discussions to agree the architecture for future treaty negotiations

    Aug 2020

  • Yoo-rrook Justice Commission established

    The Victorian Government established the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission as the nation’s first truth-telling process.

    May 2021

What is treaty?

A treaty is an agreement between states, nations or governments. In this case, it is an agreement between Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians, and the Victorian Government.

What will be in a Victorian treaty?

There are no rules about what should and shouldn’t be in a treaty. Victoria’s treaty will be shaped by history, and the social and political context of our state, and the aspirations of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians, and non-Aboriginal Victorians.

Victoria’s treaty could include - the recognition of past wrongs, acknowledgement of the unique position of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians in our state and in Australia, enhancement of existing laws and how they impact Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians, official apologies and truth-telling, and the transfer of decision-making power and resources so that Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians can make decisions about the matters that affect their lives.

Where is Victoria at on the path to treaty?

In historic elections held across September and October 2019, Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians elected the inaugural First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria. The Assembly will represent Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians in the current phase of the treaty process.

The Victorian Government and the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria are currently working in partnership to agree the architecture for future Victorian treaty negotiations, including:

A treaty negotiation framework – which sets out the rules and process for future treaty negotiations

A treaty authority - to act as an independent umpire in future treaty negotiations

A self-determination fund - which will provide Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians with an independent financial resource to support their equal standing with the State in treaty negotiations.

Once these elements are established, the Victorian Government and its First Peoples will be ready to commence the negotiation of treaty.

Why treaty?

Treaty will benefit all Victorians.

It can help to heal past wounds and forge a new shared future for all.

A treaty could tangibly improve the lives of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians and future generations. A treaty that will change the social and economic fabric of our state, and build a stronger, more just and equal Victoria.

A Victoria that we can all be proud of.

How can I be an ally and support treaty?

Now is the time to listen to and embrace the rich history of the world's oldest continuous cultures and walk alongside Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians on the path to treaty.  

There are lots of ways to show support and be an ally on the journey to treaty.

Explore stories on this website of Aboriginal pride, resilience, continues ancient cultures and the path to treaty.

To hear from Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians, visit Deadly Questions

Learn as much as you can about the histories and rich cultures of Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Victorians.

Sign-up to our mailing list for updates.

What is the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission?

Following work in partnership with the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria, the Victorian Government established the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission as the nation’s first truth-telling process. 

Yoo-rrook is the Wemba Wemba / Wamba Wamba word for truth.

The Yoo-rrook Justice Commission will investigate both historical and ongoing injustices committed against Aboriginal Victorians since colonisation by the State and non-State entities, across all areas of social, political and economic life. In doing so, the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission will engage Victoria’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal community to achieve its aims of truth telling and truth listening.

More information can be found here.