Traditional Owner agreement-making
Right People for Country program supports Traditional Owner groups to prepare for and make agreements:
- Between groups: about boundaries and extent of Country.
- Within groups: about group representation and membership.
These agreements can assist Traditional Owner groups who want to:
- become Registered Aboriginal Parties under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006
- negotiate settlements with the Victorian Government under the Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 or pursue native title under the Native Title Act 1993
The Right People for Country program moves away from governments and courts making decisions for Traditional Owners. It provides support for Traditional Owner groups to reach agreements about Country and Traditional Owner identity themselves.
Support is tailored to Traditional Owner groups and includes:
- independent facilitators
- training (strategic negotiation, group facilitation and dispute resolution)
- planning workshops
- support to visit and map country
- resources to hold meetings
Download and complete the Expression of Interest form:
Step 1: Give us a call
If you are interested in your Traditional Owner group accessing support for agreement-making, then phone us – we can have an initial conversation about agreement-making and how the Right People for Country program works | (03) 8392 5385
Step 2: Have a meeting to discuss agreement-making
- meet with Traditional Owners to discuss agreement-making
- provide information about the Right People for Country program
- provide examples of other Traditional Owner agreement-making projects
- discuss your goals, how you want to achieve those goals and what support you need.
From this discussion we can draft a project outline that you can use to put forward an Expression of Interest.
Step 3: Talk with Traditional Owners who need to be involved
Traditional Owners need to talk with their own group and get agreement to seek Right People for Country program support. An Expression of Interest for support needs to be authorised in accordance with each Traditional Owner group’s usual decision making process.
Where agreement-making involves 2 or more Traditional Owner groups, you need to talk with the other group(s) and agree to submit 1 joint Expression of Interest. We can help Traditional Owner groups talk to other groups or parties who need to be involved.
Step 4: Submit an Expression of Interest
When Traditional Owner groups are ready, you can submit an Expression of Interest form to the Right People for Country program. A separate Expression of Interest form must be submitted for each agreement-making project.
Download and complete the Expression of Interest form:
Request Right People for Country program support.
Design the agreement-making process.
3. Develop a plan
Review information and research, access training. Develop a project plan.
Implement agreement-making process.
Document and endorse agreements.
Communicate the agreement to the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council and the Native Title Unit, Department of Justice and Community Safety, to support Registered Aboriginal Party appointments and settlement agreements.
Implement and monitor agreements.
Agreement making principles
Traditional Owners design and lead the agreement-making process and reach their own agreements about 'right people for Country' matters.
Agreement-making is coordinated with formal recognition processes. Support is brokered from other agencies to assist in agreement-making.
Agreement-making is conducted on a 'confidential and without prejudice' basis. Information is respected and protected according to the wishes of Traditional Owner groups.
Respect for cultural practices and values in agreement-making.
Focus on healing and strengthening relationships between and within Traditional Owner groups.
Training and resources in strategic negotiation, group facilitation, and managing disputes.
Tailored and flexible support
Support is matched to the needs of Traditional Owner groups. There is no set formula.
Confidentiality and managing information
Our program ensures your information is protected according to the wishes of Traditional Owner groups.
Agreement-making is confidential and without prejudice.
This means that:
- information may be shared within and between Traditional Owner groups but cannot be disclosed to a third party without the consent of all Traditional Owner groups involved
- information cannot be used for a purpose other than agreement-making without the consent of all Traditional Owner groups involved
- discussions and information shared during agreement-making cannot be disclosed, or relied upon in any future arbitral, administrative or judicial proceeding
Disclosure may only occur:
- With consent of the relevant Traditional Owner groups.
- If required by law. All information held by the Right People for Country program is subject to laws relating to freedom of information, privacy and public records. Exemptions may apply.
- Information is already publicly available (other than as a result of a breach of privacy) or is non-identifying information necessary for administration.
- The Right People for Country program discloses that a Traditional Owner group has received or is receiving agreement making support. Where this happens, the Right People for Country program will not provide any further details other than whether agreement making support has been provided, without the consent of the Traditional Owner groups involved.
The program is partnered with key stakeholders involved in Traditional Owner and native title settlements and cultural heritage management.
A Steering Committee oversees the program. The committee includes representatives from:
- Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council
- Federation of Victorian Traditional Owner Corporations
- First Nations Legal and Research Service
- Department of Justice and Community Safety
- Aboriginal Victoria
The program is managed by Aboriginal Victoria, Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Program success stories
Reviewed 22 January 2020