AN OPEN LETTER TO MEMBERS OF PARLIAMENT FROM THE PEAK BODY FOR CHILD AND FAMILY SERVICES
The Centre is Victoria’s peak body for child and family services. We represent over 150 organisations working with Victorian children and families experiencing vulnerability. We write in support of the Advancing the Treaty Process with Aboriginal Victorians Bill 2018.
The current Treaty process is a critical foundation towards Aboriginal people achieving self-determination, as equal partners in Victoria’s future. The child and family services sector, including early years services, recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original owners of this land and accordingly we recognise their inalienable right to self-determination.
The Bill is a simple, but essential step: resourcing the Aboriginal community to elect their own representatives to negotiate the terms of a Treaty with the Victorian government.
Connection to culture, family, community and Country is fundamental to building a strong Aboriginal community, a strong Aboriginal family and a strong Aboriginal child. This recognition of self-determination and connection to culture, family, community and Country, must inform and guide our work every day with Aboriginal people.
This Bill is the next step on our journey to Treaty in Victoria – through the Beyond Good Intentions statement, the Royal Commission into Family Violence and subsequent Roadmap for Reform: strong families, safe children, the Aboriginal Children Forums, the appointment of Australia’s first Aboriginal Children’s Commissioner, and as a signatory of the Wungurilwil Gapgapduir Aboriginal Children’s Agreement.
As a sector we work in partnership with the Aboriginal community and with government to improve outcomes for Victorian Aboriginal children and families – with our aims and objectives based on the guiding principle of self-determination. This Bill presents a unique opportunity to recognise Aboriginal self-determination.
We urge you to support this Bill.
Chief Executive Officer
The Centre launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan in 2017. You can find it here.