• Palawa Elder Rodney Dillon has welcomed the Tasmanian Government's commitment to truth-telling and a treaty. (Supplied)Source: Supplied
The state government will consult with the palawa about a way forward for a truth-telling process and what a pathway to a treaty would consist of.
Sarah Maunder

24 Jun 2021 - 10:29 AM  UPDATED 24 Jun 2021 - 10:30 AM

The Tasmanian government's commitment to a time frame for a truth-telling and a treaty with the state's palawa people has been welcomed by prominent figures in the community.

Former governor Kate Warner has been tasked to provide a report by October on options for a pathway to a treaty with the palawa.

Palawa Elder and Co-Chair of the Tasmanian Regional Communities Alliance (TRACA) Rodney Dillon said it's a positive step.

"A treaty needs to be a genuine commitment of living together in this country," he told NITV News.

"How are we going to get along for the next 200 years? Because we haven't got along well in the last 200," he said.

Mr Dillon said any potential treaty would need to address land and resource returns, truth-telling education, and youth incarceration.

"Colonisation has been severe on our People, for instance, our People never had police or prison systems, we had our own councils of Elders, and our people looked after each other," he said.

"But that commitment to working together to build better partnerships, to give back some of the things that were stolen from our people and talk about the truth of history in this country.

"The truth of this history that’s never been told, it’s still not being told in schools, the teachers today know nothing about Aboriginal history. How do we get the teachers up to scratch teaching Aboriginal history?"

Premier Peter Gutwein made the announcement on the first day of parliament since his party was returned at the May 1 state poll.

He said former governor Kate Warner would "facilitate a process to understand directly from Tasmanian Aboriginal people themselves how best to take our next steps towards reconciliation".

"Professor Warner will provide a report to government by October this year with recommendations outlining a proposed way forward towards reconciliation," he said in a statement on Tuesday.

The report will also canvass the views of Tasmanian Aboriginal people on a truth-telling process and what a pathway to a treaty would consist of.

"My government remains committed to stronger protection of Aboriginal heritage, and is open to proposals for further land return," Mr Gutwein said.

Mr Dillon urged Ms Warner and the Tasmanian Government to consult with all the different Aboriginal groups across Tasmania, and perhaps consider multiple treaties.

"It's not just one big treaty, you need to deal with the people in the areas that they are, not just one central body."

University of Tasmania humanitarian law specialist Tim McCormack will assist Prof Warner, with discussions to begin in the coming weeks.

Relationship strained

It comes as the Liberals reiterated on Tuesday their support for a proposed cable car on Hobart's kunanyi/Mount Wellington, a plan savaged by sections of the palawa community.

In a group submission to Hobart City Council this week, ten Aboriginal heritage officers claimed the project would forever damage the cultural values of the mountain.

Liberal MP Nic Street said the cable car had the potential to bring "significant investment to the state" and create new jobs.

Relations between Tasmania's Aboriginal community and the Liberal government, which has been in power since 2014, have been shaky.

Aboriginal leaders have held concerns with 4WD access to significant west coast areas and also raised issues with slow movement on land returns.

A recently released Tourism Master Plan for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area conceded Aboriginal storytelling is a "recognised gap" in the visitor experience.

The state government in March approved 15 Aboriginal place names, including Kennaook instead of Cape Grim, the site of an 1828 massacre of Indigenous people, and Taneneryouer for Suicide Bay.

Museum formally apologises to Tasmanian Aboriginal community over mistreatment of artefacts
The Royal Society of Tasmania and the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery have apologised ahead of the return of 14,000-year-old artefacts to their original site.