VACCHO Welcomes Treaty Authority Appointment  

Dec 7, 2023

VACCHO extends its congratulations to the newly appointed members of the Treaty Authority and looks forward to seeing the Authority play a critical role in advancing the journey to Treaty-making

VACCHO applauds the Allan Labor Government for its continued and unfaltering steps down the path to treaty with their announcement yesterday.

The Treaty Authority will oversee the upcoming historic Treaty negotiations between the First Peoples’ Assembly and the Victorian Government which are expected to commence in Victoria next year.

The appointment of the Treaty Authority was announced this week, with all five members bringing a diverse range of knowledge, experience, and skills to the role.

VACCHO warmly congratulates Thelma Austin (Gunditjmara), Dr Petah Atkinson (Yorta Yorta), Duean White (Biripi), Andrew Jackomos PSM (Yorta Yorta), and Jidah Clark (Djab Wurrung), who will be the inaugural members of the new Treaty Authority.

L – R: Ngarra Murray (Wamba Wamba,Yorta Yorta, Dhudhuroa and Dja Dja Wurrung), Duean White (Biripi), Jidah Clark (Djab Wurrung), Petah Atkinson (Yorta Yorta), Natalie Hutchins MP, Dr , Andrew Jackomos PSM (Yorta Yorta), Thelma Austin (Gunditjmara), , and Rueben Berg (Gunditjmara). Photo by Leroy Miller / First People’s Assembly of Victoria

The five Treaty Authority members were chosen by an independent selection panel following a robust and culturally strong recruitment process.

With bipartisan support, the Treaty Authority is the first body of its kind in Australia and will play a critical role in Victoria’s nation-leading journey towards a statewide treaty.

Treaty presents a vital opportunity to recognise historic wrongs, address ongoing injustices, help heal wounds of the past, promoting the fundamental human rights of Aboriginal peoples and a chance for all Victorians to create a better future together as equals.

VACCHO acknowledges the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, their assembly members, and co-Chairs Ngarra Murray and Rueben Berg for their strength, vision and dedication as they build on the strong foundations created by the Assembly’s first term.

VACCHO Chief Operating Officer Jim O’ Shea said this is a landmark moment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Victoria.

“The Treaty Authority will play a vital role in helping promote self-determination, empowerment, and influence systematic change.”

“Not only are these appointments bringing their own skillsets to the role – they are also bringing over 65,000 years of rich Aboriginal culture and knowledge.”

“I look forward to seeing this staunch group of leaders carry out important work to further advance the journey to Treaty.”

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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.