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The New South Wales Aboriginal Land Council (NSWALC) has renewed calls for a treaty during discussions at a Black Parliament event in Sydney.
By
Hashela Kumarawansa

Source:
NITV News
27 Sep 2017 - 5:17 PM  UPDATED 27 Sep 2017 - 5:23 PM

All of the council's 23,000 members said establishing a treaty that is signed by both sides of State politics in NSW within the next five years was a key priority.

NSWALC Chair, Roy Ah See, says a treaty is a practical way for New South Wales to deepen Aboriginal participation in the economy.

"Today is not about prescribing a model for a treaty but the start of a conversation with Aboriginal peoples and with all sides of politics," Cr Roy Ah See said.

The call for a treaty is an integral part of the peak Land Rights body's Strategic Plan which was also released for consultation today.

"The Council has talked about things like economic development, cultural heritage," Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Sarah Mitchell, told NITV News.

"Establishing a treaty was also part of it."

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Speaking to NITV News from State Parliament, Cr Ah See said today was an "historical day" for the Indigenous community.

"We are celebrating 40 years of conversation that took place in '77 and to do it in this place is fitting," he said.

"We've listened to our members and local Aboriginal councils and one of the key priorities in our strategic plan is to talk treaty."

Minister Mitchell says while she is waiting to hear more details about the strategy, she understands the importance of including Indigenous Australians in these discussions.

"I think all of these discussions have to be led by Aboriginal people," she told NITV News.

While acknowledging there will "no doubt" be challenges along the way in the treaty discussions, Cr Ah See says fighting for change is not something the Indigenous community hasn't heard of before.

"In '77, when they had the conversation about what the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights would look like, no doubt they thought back then that they’d have challenges along the way," he explained.

Cr Ah See says he would like to see bipartisan support to show their genuine commitment to advancing the Indigenous community.

He says history has shown that both government and community support are needed to drive change.

"We got constitutional recognition in this state and now it’s time to take the next step."

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