VACCHO Deeply Disappointed by Victorian Opposition’s Backflip on Treaty

Jan 22, 2024

The Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO) expresses profound disappointment in the recent decision by the Victorian Opposition to withdraw its support from the Treaty process in Victoria.

The abrupt reversal by the State Opposition is a heartless and callous manoeuvre to capitalise on anti-Voice sentiment for political gain, to the detriment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities.

Now is the time to embrace a unique and historic opportunity to write a new and positive chapter in our shared history.

Treaty represents a significant stride towards self-determination, empowerment, and much-needed systemic change. It is poised to bring about meaningful structural reforms that will equip Aboriginal Communities across Victoria with the tools to enhance their lives.

VACCHO applauds the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, their assembly members, and co-Chairs Ngarra Murray and Rueben Berg for their leadership and vision as they move full steam ahead towards historic Treaty negotiations with the Victorian Government later in the year.

VACCHO recognises the stalwart Allan Labor Government for their continued support and commitment to the Treaty process. VACCHO invites allies to walk with us and shout your support for Treaty as we power forward on this journey to creating lasting positive change.

In 2022, the Victorian Liberal and National parties declared their commitment to Treaty. In 2024, VACCHO calls on the Opposition to put aside politics, see the bigger picture and return to that position of commitment to Treaty.

VACCHO CEO and former Treaty Advancement Commissioner Jill Gallagher AO says the path to Treaty transcends politics.

“We have an incredibly powerful Yoorrook truth and justice process that is taking place in Victoria. Seeing and hearing the deeply personal accounts of the horrific atrocities that have taken place, and continue to take place, in this state demonstrates why we desperately need Treaty negotiations.”

“Treaty represents Victoria’s opportunity to reckon with past injustices and tackle the ongoing, every-day legacy of invasion and racism that continues to hold Aboriginal people back, but it’s also a chance for all Victorians to create a better future together as equals.”

“The essence of Treaty lies in the invitation for all of us to unite, listen, and build mutual understanding and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the broader Victorian Community.”

“It is a unique opportunity for diverse voices to come together and collectively build a more inclusive state where all Victorians can thrive.”

Image credit: A ‘Yes’ street mural painted by muralist Tom Civil in Melbourne, Australia, on Oct. 2, 2023. (Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images)

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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.