Community Assembly Materials

Community Assembly members have been provided with the following materials as pre-reading for the Community Assembly, which are also available for you to read. Below, you can find Fact Sheets, a general Information Handbook, in addition to a more detailed Pre-Reading Handbook. The Pre-Reading Handbook contains case studies and information that will inform discussions held during the Community Assembly, on the topics of Representation, Governance and Entity Structure of the Aboriginal Representative Body. You can also find other materials provided to Community Assembly members from presentations and guest speakers.

The Journey to Treaty so far

In February 2016, Aboriginal people in Victoria called on the Victorian Government to negotiate a Treaty. The Victorian Government has agreed to participate in Treaty negotiations but there is not a State-wide Aboriginal Representative Body that can work on behalf of Aboriginal people in Victoria to facilitate the negotiation of Treaty/Treaties. As a result Treaty negotiations cannot begin. Find out more about Treaty.

The Aboriginal Treaty Working Group (Working Group) was established and held its first meeting in July 2016. The Working Group’s role is to consult the Aboriginal Community on options for a Representative Body, and to provide advice to both the Aboriginal Community and government on the next steps in the Treaty process. Learn more about the Working Group.

Beginning in October 2016, the Working Group ran community consultations, about what a Victorian Aboriginal Representative Body would look like. Learn more about the first two phases of community consultations.

What will happen next?

A Community Assembly is being held to address unanswered questions about the design of the Representative Body. Applications for the Community Assembly closed on October 6. The Community Assembly will discuss themes of representation, governance and structure, with respect to the Representative Body. The Community Assembly will be made up of a group of Aboriginal Victorian people, and their discussions will end in recommendations that will be passed on to the Working Group in the form of a report. These recommendations will inform the design of the Representative Body. Learn more about the Community Assembly.

What is Treaty?

Treaty is a settlement or agreement that is arrived at by negotiation.

The Victorian Aboriginal Community and the State Government of Victoria have been working towards Treaty since February 2016. Throughout the journey to Treaty, there has been no one seeking to limit what a Treaty can be, nor anyone deciding who will negotiate specific agreements.

A Treaty can be made by two or more parties, and for a Treaty between government and Aboriginal people in Victoria, Aboriginal parties need to decide who will sign on to a Treaty and how they will be represented or supported in the process. Similarly, Aboriginal people involved in a Treaty must agree on the purpose of it, before deciding what the Treaty should contain when it is negotiated. It may be that a Treaty becomes many Treaties: a series of formal agreements.

Who is the Working Group?

The Aboriginal Treaty Working Group (Working Group) was established and held its first meeting in July 2016. The Working Group has 13 members, which include nominated representatives from Traditional Owner groups, State-wide Aboriginal community controlled organisations, and the Koorie Youth Council plus a number of qualified and experienced individual community members who applied to join the Working Group through an expression of interest process.

The members of the Working Group are volunteers who do not get paid. The Working Group's Terms of Reference require the Working Group to consult with the Aboriginal Community on options for a Representative Body and to provide advice to both government and the Aboriginal Community on the next steps in the Treaty process. The Working Group are not negotiating Treaty.

As of September, 2017, the members of the Working Group are:

  • Jill Gallagher and Mick Harding as Co-Chairs
  • Geraldine Atkinson
  • Muriel Bamblett
  • Eleanor Bourke
  • Paul Briggs
  • Jeremy Clark
  • Vicki Clark
  • Indi Clarke
  • Janine Coombs
  • Aunty Di Kerr
  • Wayne Muir
  • Tarneen Onus-Williams

The Working Group will not be part of the Community Assembly and will not contribute to the deliberation or discussion during the Community Assembly. The Community Assembly will provide recommendations on governance, structure and representation of the Representative Body for the Working Group to consider.

Where have we come from?

Two phases of Community Consultations have already occurred.

The first phase began in October 2016, and asked the Aboriginal people of Victoria to discuss how a representative body should be designed to represent them in the Treaty negotiation process. This involved establishing design principles and identifying potential roles and functions of the Representative Body.

Consultations were held in:

  • Bendigo: 28 October 2016
  • Mildura: 2 November 2016
  • Swan Hill: 4 November 2016
  • Melbourne: 9 November 2016
  • Ballarat: 10 November 2016
  • Morwell: 16 November 2016
  • Warrnambool: 28 November 2016
  • Horsham: 30 November 2016
  • Bairnsdale: 2 December 2016

To see the findings of the first phase of community consultations you can download:

The second phase began in March 2017, and asked the Aboriginal people of Victoria to consider what structure the representative body should have, and how they should be represented in it.

Consultations were held in:

  • Echuca: 7 March 2017
  • Mildura: 9 March 2017
  • Portland: 14 March 2017
  • Sale: 16 March 2017
  • Wodonga: 21 March 2017
  • Melbourne: 23 March 2017

To see the findings of the second phase of community consultations you can download:

What is the Community Assembly?

The Community Assembly will be made up of a group of Victorian Aboriginal people, who reflect the diversity of the Aboriginal community. Diversity includes gender, age, different communities across the State, and also different skills, knowledge and experience. Becoming a member of the Community Assembly will involve conversation, decision making, personal reflection, group work, ceremony, and fun!

Applications to join are now open and will close on 6 October 2017. We encourage all Victorian Aboriginal people above the age of 18 to apply! You can also find out more information about the process.

The Community Assembly will be held during the following two time blocks:

  • Wednesday 15 November - Friday 17 November 2017; and
  • Wednesday 29 November - Friday 1 December 2017

Across these two blocks of time the Community Assembly will consider and workshop the following topics: Governance, Representation and Structure of the Representative Body.

The Community Assembly will look at these topics through:

  • Interactive and deliberative discussions
  • Presentations from guest speakers, Aboriginal experts and knowledge holders as well as international experts
  • Workshops facilitated by experts
  • Reflection opportunities, time to discuss, deliberate and question in both a group and individually
  • A pre reading pack with information and summaries of key topics for consideration.

Additionally, the Community Assembly program will feature social events. The Community Assembly will be held in Melbourne. Cultural safety will be considered for participants.

Much of this information will be available online for the wider Victorian Aboriginal community.

This is a time of hope for the Victorian Aboriginal Community. For the first time we have this opportunity and together, we can make real change by giving a voice to the Victorian Aboriginal people through a Representative Body.