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Victoria’s Opposition walks back support for a First Nations Treaty

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The Victorian Coalition said it doesn't support a First Nations Treaty, a move that Victoria's Indigenous leaders said is "disappointing".
Victorian Coalition walks back support for First Nations treaty

Victoria’s Opposition has withdrawn its support for a First Nations Treaty in the state. It comes less than two years after backing the Labor Government’s laws to set up an Indigenous Treaty Authority.

Earlier this week Nationals MP and Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Peter Walsh told Sky News: “We don’t believe we should proceed with Treaty”.

Victoria’s Premier Jacinta Allan has accused the Opposition of a “u-turn”. She said the Coalition failed to properly inform the Government of its decision.

Treaty

A Treaty would be a legally binding agreement between First Nations people and Victoria’s Government to ensure “freedom and power” for Aboriginal communities.

Formal Treaty negotiations are expected to kick off this year. They are set to focus on representation, transforming the justice system, and self-determination.

Response

Victoria’s First Peoples’ Assembly, an elected body representing First Nations people in Victoria, said the Coalition’s backflip was “disappointing, but not surprising”. It said the Nationals and Liberals had not “told the Assembly they were walking away from Treaty”.

Victorian Liberal leader John Pesutto said there had been ongoing discussions between the Coalition and Indigenous leaders across the state. He did not specify who those leaders were.

The First Peoples’ Assembly insisted the Coalition’s announcement won’t change the ongoing Treaty process.

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