• WA Minister Ben Wyatt hopes the meetings, which will now occur once or twice a year, will pave the way for states and territories to prompt federal action. (AAP image/Rebecca Gredley)Source: AAP image/Rebecca Gredley
State and Territory Aboriginal Affairs leaders say it is inevitable the Federal Government will need to have treaty negotiations with Indigenous people.
Rebecca Gredley

19 Jun 2017 - 10:19 AM  UPDATED 19 Jun 2017 - 10:37 AM

Representatives from Western Australia, the ACT, the Northern Territory, South Australia and Victoria met on Friday for the first roundtable meeting in seven years to discuss their progress on Aboriginal affairs.

WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister, Ben Wyatt, said each state faced similar issues including housing, treaties, Aboriginal representation and land tenure.

"It's an opportunity now for states and territories to have a much better understanding of what we're all doing, and co-operate a lot more to create more opportunities for Aboriginal people," he told reporters on Friday.

"We're seeing a lot more happening in the space of Native title, constitutional recognition and closing the gap."

Mr Wyatt met with SA Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Minister, Kyam Maher, ACT MLA, Rachel Stephen-Smith, NT MLA, Chansey Paech, and Member for Geelong, Christine Couzens.

Roundtable meetings are expected to continue once or twice a year, with discussions towards the end of 2017 to focus on how states and territories will use land vested in Aboriginal communities to better create economic development.

Mr Wyatt said treaty conversations were occurring with Nyoongar people from WA's South West region, and acknowledged this was happening across Australia.

"What Uluru has shown is that Aboriginal Australia is very keen to have this conversation about treaties elevated," he said.

"It has created a new pressure on the Commonwealth government to engage in an area that perhaps, may be new to them."

Mr Maher said a state treaty could be announced by the end of the year and that bilateral agreement would have a federal impact.

"When states and territories talk with one voice it helps solve problems," he said.

WA Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt hosted state, territory and Commonwealth representatives, with the goal of improving interstate relations, economic development and outline opportunities for Aboriginal land tenure reform.

The meeting wasn't set to focus on the negatives, but on how governments can work with the Aboriginal community to improve outcomes, Mr Wyatt explained. 


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