VACCHO Congratulates First Peoples’ Assembly As New Co-Chairs Named at Parliament House Opening Meeting

Jul 28, 2023

VACCHO would like to congratulate the newly elected co-chairs of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria Wamba Wamba, Yorta Yorta, Dhudhuroa and Dja Dja Wurrung woman Ngarra Murray and Gunditjmara man Rueben Berg.

The newly elected co-chairs were named at the opening meeting of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria’s second term which took place at Victorian Parliament House.

Both Ms Murray and Mr Berg are returning to the assembly for its second term.

This week’s ceremonial opening followed historic Treaty Elections in which all eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were invited to choose the people who will negotiate a statewide Treaty.

VACCHO were incredibly proud to see VACCHO’s Balit Durn Durn Centre Executive Director and newly elected South-West region Assembly Member Sheree Lowe pay tribute to her family and Community in a passionate inaugural speech at Parliament House.

“Maar poondeeyt-an keenanpa, deen moorroop ngathoo-nganeen-ee moorroop meereeng.” – Sheree Lowe said in Keerraywoorroong language which translates to “Maar have lived here forever, our spirit is within us, our spirit is in country”.

VACCHO pays tribute to outgoing co-chairs proud Nira illim bulluk man of the Taungurung Nation Marcus Stewart and proud Bangerang and Wiradjuri woman Aunty Geraldine Atkinson for their staunch commitment, dedication and leadership.

VACCHO vehemently supports Aunty Geraldine and Marcus Stewart’s endorsement of a ‘yes’ vote in the referendum for an Indigenous voice to parliament during their final speeches.

VACCHO CEO Jill Gallagher AO congratulated The First Peoples Assembly expressing her pride as she watched their presentations.

“I’d like to congratulate The First Peoples Assembly on a successful their first meeting – I was filled with pride watching their passionate, powerful presentations. I look forward to seeing this staunch group of leaders carry out important work to further advance the journey to Treaty.”

“I also pay tribute to the outgoing co-chairs Marcus Stewart and Aunty Geraldine Atkinson for their vision and advocacy and truly leading the way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria.”

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VACCHO is the peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing in Victoria – the only one of its kind – with 33 Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations as Members. VACCHO Members support over 65,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria, and combined are the largest employers of Aboriginal people in the state.