Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner has taken on the new role of Minister for Treaty in a cabinet reshuffle announced today.
“Following the historic signing of the Treaty MOU, I will also take on the new Ministry for Treaty to drive further progress on this crucial reform," Mr Gunner said in a statement.
He has also taken over as Minister for Children as the Labor government faces a child protection crisis.
Mr Gunner has passed on the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio to Ken Vowles, the only Aboriginal member of the NT Government ministry.
It was the Labor Government’s first reshuffle since it won a landslide election victory in 2016.
“Today’s new-look Cabinet maintains strong and stable Government for the NT,” Mr Gunner said.
“Territorians can be assured that my team remains 100% focused on improving the lives of all Territorians.”
Push for NT Treaty
The Barunga Festival in early June saw the historic signing of an agreement to work towards treaty in the Northern Territory.
The Barunga agreement is an unprecedented memorandum of understanding between the NT government and all four of the Territory's land councils. It is the result of a week of meetings at Barunga involving 200 members of the land councils.
According to the Guardian, the agreement commits the NT government and the land councils to a three-year consultation process on how best to approach treaty negotiations.
In a statement, Northern Land Council Chairman Samuel Bush-Blanansi said: “This is a momentous day in the history of the Territory, a chance to reset the relationship between the Territory’s First Nations and the Government."
But Tiwi Land Council Chairman Gibson Farmer Illortaminni expressed some reservations.
“We’ve got to be careful and understand each other about what we want, because we don’t want to have the same problems we’ve had in the past," Mr Illortaminni said in the statement.
"The MoU is a good start, but we’ve got a long way to go. The Government needs to be honest and transparent.”