First Nations peoples


1. First Nations peoples have a right to self-determination and must be partners in the development and implementation of public policies, programs and services that affect them.

2. Victorian governments must continue to address the unfinished business of reconciliation, through support for:

a) statewide organisational and grassroots approaches to achieve local and systemic reconciliation; and

b) eradicating personal and institutional racism. 

3. Because Victorian First Nations people have been dispossessed, without their consent, of their lands, resources and waters, they have a right to redress through measures that assist them:

a) to acquire, own and/or manage those lands, resources and waters; and

b) to access opportunities for economic participation and development. 

4. All Victorians, including those living in discrete communities, have an equal right to essential government services such as health, education, training, housing, community infrastructure, employment support, and policing. 

5. First Nations peoples should enjoy equitable outcomes in health, education and employment compared to the general population.                 

6. Victorian governments must recognise the continuing effect of past treatment of First Nations peoples and, working with the federal government to implement the recommendations of the Bringing Them Home Report, and in the spirit of the Victorian Government’s 1997 Apology to the Stolen Generations, provide full restitution to the stolen generations. 

7. Victorian governments must recognise the findings of the 2009 research into First Nations peoples’ stolen wages in Victoria, make reparation through a formal apology to First Nations workers who had their wages withheld, acknowledge their economic contribution to the state and act to provide restorative justice to their families. 

8. Since the Victorian Constitution recognises Victoria's First Nations peoples as the original custodians of the land, and –

a) their unique status as the descendants of Victoria's first inhabitants;

b) their spiritual, social, cultural and economic relationship with their traditional lands and waters within Victoria; and

c) their unique and irreplaceable contribution to the identity and wellbeing of Victoria;

– governments should ensure that the rights and obligations implied by that recognition are upheld. 



1. Negotiate settlement agreements with Victorian Traditional Owners which deliver land and asset bases for social, cultural and economic development in line with their priorities and aspirations.

2. Government policies which respect the right of First Nations peoples to self-determination, the right to participate in decisions that affect them, and their aspiration for improvement of their social and economic conditions.

3. Protection for cultural rights of First Nations peoples, including their right to practise and revitalise their cultural traditions, customs and language; and resources for community initiatives to maintain, protect and develop the past, present and future manifestations of their cultures, including intellectual property.

4. Equitable access to essential services and economic development opportunities and programs.  

5. Support programs for First Nations peoples and organisations in health, education, training, housing, community safety, employment and business development, which aim to fully close the gaps in outcomes within 25 years.   

6. Adequately resourced, culturally appropriate and community-endorsed health, housing, educational, legal and welfare services for First Nations peoples.

7. Family violence addressed through coordinated, systemic responses informed by First Nations voices and perspectives; and support for First Nations community initiatives and networks, alcohol and other substance abuse initiatives, Aboriginal Women's Legal Services, and safe houses.

8. Ongoing development of child protection and culturally relevant family support projects, including parenting programs for both men and women, run by and for First Nations people.

9. Increase the proportion of First Nations children attending preschool through assisting First Nations people to set up preschool programs, and increased access for First Nations families to early childcare services. 

10. Support for, and recognition of, Victorian First Nations representative bodies acceptable to and elected by their communities, and increased representation of First Nations peoples in all levels of government and other decision-making roles.

11. Continuing support for the Aboriginal Justice Agreement, its Council and related initiatives (Koori Courts and Justice Forum), and for the continuing over-representation of First Nations people in the justice system being appropriately addressed.  

12.  Adequately resourced programs of support and fair compensation for First Nations peoples where historical stolen generations or stolen wages claims are upheld.  

13.  Ensure that the native title (or land use equivalent) process under the Traditional Owners Settlement Act is fair, inexpensive, cooperative and compliant – so far as is possible – with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

14. First Nations groups wishing to make land and cultural heritage claims to be adequately funded to enable proper research and presentation of their case.

15. Following engagement with First Nations communities and relevant organisations in Victoria, establishing a Victorian Government Reconciliation Statement or similar indication of commitment to First Nations peoples.

16. Resourcing the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission to conduct research and prepare annual reports on progress towards equality for First Nations peoples in Victoria.

17. Establishing targets in employment of First Nations peoples in all government sector organisations, aimed at ensuring that First Nations community representation in government services reflects their representation in the Victorian community, and promoting the establishment of similar targets in private sector organisations and businesses.

18. Strengthening the Aboriginal Heritage Act to ensure that heritage decisions are made by the relevant Registered Aboriginal Party, that items of First Nations cultural heritage are returned to and managed by Traditional Owners, and that First Nations Victorians play a fundamental role in land and heritage management.

19. Genuine opportunities for First Nations employment, with mentoring and support for First Nations young people transitioning from school to work.

20. Providing funds for capacity building within Victoria’s First Nations communities, for First Nations non-profit organisations and for First Nations-run businesses.