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Treaty and Aboriginal self-determination

A VCOSS guide to what’s being funded, what’s missing out and where the 2019 budget might take Victoria.

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VCOSS welcomes the array of measures in the budget to progress Aboriginal self-determination and improve the wellbeing of Aboriginal people and communities.

Funding is provided for the next stage of the Aboriginal Treaty process. Aboriginal Victorians should decide the scope of a treaty, potentially including sovereignty, rights, government relationships, service delivery and decision-making.

Initiatives in the budget have been identified to be delivered by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), which will support Aboriginal self-determination. ACCOs are initiated, controlled and operated by Aboriginal people, and accountable to the communities they serve. They can reach and engage Aboriginal people, unmatched by the mainstream sector. The case management funding allocated in the budget will help transition responsibility for Aboriginal children and families to ACCOs, improving connection to culture.

We welcome measures that address high rates of mental illness and family violence victimisation in the Aboriginal community, and Aboriginal over-representation in the justice system, by helping to reduce offending and keep people out of prison.



Positive initiatives

Treaty and self-determination for Aboriginal Victorians

Funding will be provided for phase two of the treaty and Aboriginal self-determination process, including establishing the First People’s Assembly of Victoria and ensuring Traditional Owners are equipped and ready for treaty negotiations.
Cost: $14.2m in 2019/20 ($30.4 million/2 years)    

Aboriginal health, wellbeing and safety—mental health demonstration projects

The Victorian Government will fund the continuation of four Aboriginal mental health demonstration projects providing treatment and support to Aboriginal Victorians with moderate to severe mental illness and other complex health and social support needs.
Cost: $4.3m in 2019/20 ($8.4m/2 years)     


Case management by Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations*

The 2019/20 budget funds services and support for Aboriginal children and families involved in the child protection system to remain connected to their culture through continued transition of case management of Aboriginal children in care to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations.
Cost: $5.6m in 2019/20 ($13.6m/2 years)    


Aboriginal kinship finding service*

Funding is provided for new models of kinship care to strengthen Aboriginal children’s connection with family, culture and community, including an Aboriginal kinship finding service.
Cost: $2.4m in 2019/20 ($10.1m/4 years)   


Dhelk Dja: Aboriginal 10 Year Family Violence Plan*

The Victorian Government is funding the operation of three Aboriginal Orange Door access points, and to expand frontline Aboriginal family violence services.
Cost: $4.5m in 2019/20 ($28.8m/4 years)  


Family violence and sexual assault therapeutic support—specialised support for Aboriginal Victorians*

This budget is funding the expansion of specialised therapeutic support services for Aboriginal Victorians who are victims of family violence and sexual assault.
Cost: $1.5m in 2019/20 ($8.7m/4 years)     


Koori Women’s Place*

Funding is provided for the continuation of the Koori Women’s Place to provide culturally appropriate family violence services to Aboriginal women.
Cost: $0.6m in 2019/20 ($2.4m/4 years) 


Reducing the incarceration of women*

The Victorian Government is funding programs to reduce the incarceration of women, including targeted strategies to address the over-representation of Aboriginal women in the justice system.
Cost: $4.8m in 2019/20 ($20m/4 years) 


Marram Nganyin Aboriginal youth mentoring program

Aboriginal organisations are being funded to deliver targeted youth mentoring programs to support and empower Aboriginal young people.
Cost: $0.4m in 2019/20 ($0.4m/1 year)  


Aboriginal Languages Program Training Initiative*

This budget provides continued funding for the current pilot of an accredited Aboriginal languages program for Koori community members to support the delivery of language programs in schools and kindergartens.
Cost: $0.4m in 2019/20 ($0.7m/2 years)       


Further strategies

In future budgets, even more can be done to progress the transition of services for Aboriginal people to Aboriginal community controlled organisations.

The community services industry is working towards developing a Compact with ACCOs and is ready and willing to work with Government and the Aboriginal community-controlled sector to embed self-determination through transition of responsibility.

Aboriginal people are also more likely to experience homelessness than non-Aboriginal Victorians. VCOSS looks forward to working with the Government to help deliver the Aboriginal Housing and Homelessness Framework under development and provide culturally safe and appropriate housing options for Aboriginal Victorians.

We expect the Treaty process will also identify areas of need for investment and support for Aboriginal Victorians.


* Indicates the initiative is also included under other policy areas.

More VCOSS analysis
Read the VCOSS media release
Watch the VCOSS Treasurer's Breakfast
Real Spending Changes Table