• Victorian Aboriginal Advancement Commissioner Jill Gallagher AO. (NITV)
Gunditjmara woman and Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner, Jill Gallagher AO, is looking forward to establishing a Representative Body as the road to Treaty continues.
Madeline Hayman-Reber

7 Mar 2018 - 5:14 PM  UPDATED 7 Mar 2018 - 6:20 PM

A final report on the design of the Aboriginal Representative Body by the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group has been handed over to the Victorian Treaty Advancement Commission.

During an event held at Melbourne’s Parliament House on Wednesday, Commissioner and Gunditjmara woman, Jill Gallagher AO, told NITV News she was looking forward to seeing where the future would take treaty proposals in Victoria.

"My role as Commissioner is to continue the hard work of the Aboriginal Working Group, continue to engage with Aboriginal people and the wider public to keep Treaty on the agenda, but more importantly, my role is to establish a Representative Body," she said.

Ms Gallagher also pointed out it would be a democratic body - while it would work with the Victorian Government, it would also be independent.

“I think it's exciting, you know. Aboriginal people in Victoria have called for Treaty for a long time, like other Aboriginal nations across the country," Ms Gallagher said.

"But this is the first time a Government in Victoria has heard those calls and actually legitimately put it on the table."

In terms of electing the body, some of the report's recommendations include the establishment of six voting regions, five regional and one metro, with an Aboriginal Electoral Roll to be created for the Aboriginal Representative Body.

To vote, you must be at least 16 years old, and to stand for election you must be at least 18 years old.

Once elected, the Representative Body would travel around the state on a series of Treaty road trips.

The aim of the tour would be to obtain a variety of views from Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and organisations.

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"I think it's important that we continue the engagement with Aboriginal people, our mob, ourselves, but also the wider Victorian community. I think that's vital," Ms Gallagher said.

"When we do our regional road trips we will also make time to speak to the non-Aboriginal people in those areas."

Chair of the Aboriginal Treaty Working Group, Mick Harding would also be participating in the process. He told NITV News he was looking forward to seeing the outcome. 

“I’m really excited for the possibilities, the possibility of 180 or 190 or however many years post-invasion, that we possibly get to strike Treaty or Treaties with the non-Indigenous population and take our rightful place in this society,” he said.

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