In Parliament Member for Ovens Valley Tim McCurdy expressed the Treaty Authority and Other Treaty Elements Bill 2022 is a significant step forward when it comes our recognition of traditional owners and Aboriginal communities throughout the Ovens Valley electorate and Victoria.
In Parliament Mr McCurdy said, “This bill not only recognises the establishment of the Treaty Authority under the treaty agreement, but this time it facilitates its operations by giving legal force to its actions.
“This bill will also make minor amendments to the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Act 2018, which in itself supports treaty negotiation framework and self-determination fund.”
He continued, “In March this year I was privileged to have Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, co-chair of the First Peoples’ Assembly and member of the Bangerang people in the north-east of Victoria visit my office to discuss parts of this legislation.
“When meeting with me, Aunty Geri expressed in no uncertain terms her desire to ensure that future generations of Aboriginal people have the same opportunities as the broader communities in towns like Wangaratta, Myrtleford, and Yarrawonga.
“I also cast my mind back a few years when the late Uncle Wally Cooper represented the north-east people of Victoria. You could not find a more inclusive, a more friendly and a more welcoming man than Uncle Wally, a man who before his passing showed me and many others that this is a shared journey and there is a united way forward.
“Additionally, with Uncle Freddie Dowling and the late Uncle Sandy Atkinson the Bullawah Cultural Trail was born in Wangaratta, and it was thanks to those Elders, who helped us go forward.
“I was lucky enough to be present when the Bullawah Cultural Trail was first established. On the Bullawah Cultural Trail the cornerstone is the Marmungun Rock, which precisely incorporates the handprints of the Elders of the Indigenous community in our region in the north-east of Victoria. Each year the handprint of the Wangaratta Citizen of the Year gets etched onto that stone, the Marmungun Rock.
“It symbolises the coming together and the significant respect the community members have for each other, both the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities.”
Mr McCurdy concluded, “I think co-chair of the First Peoples’ Assembly Marcus Stewart said it best when he said this is set up by First Nations people for First Nations people.
“It is no good having everybody telling our First Nations people what they should do.
“You need to talk to the First Nations people themselves and find out what their needs and their desires are. If we really want to succeed, this is the correct model going forward.”