About the Strong Roots for Our Futures Program

The Strong Roots for our Futures Program (formerly known as the Traditional Owner Self-Determination Scheme) is a new initiative established to resource activities to support strong self-determining Traditional Owner groups, and engagement with formal recognition and treaty processes.

We acknowledge the bushfire disaster across Victoria and we will provide flexibility and support for Traditional Owners from affected regions. Please get in touch with the program staff if this affects you.

The program's design has been informed by Victorian Traditional Owners, whose voices have been captured in the report “To be heard and for words to have actions” Traditional Owner voices: improving government relationships and supporting strong foundations (September 2019).

The program has funding of $950,000 per year for 3 years ending June 2022.

The program has a focus on resourcing Traditional Owner groups that are not recognised under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006, Native Title Act 1993 or Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010, located in 4 key regions of the Victoria: Far East Gippsland, North East, Mid North West and Central North West Victoria (regions).

Strong traditional owner groups are made up of young people, relationships, formal recognition, governance, culture and country and healing

Supporting strong Traditional Owner groups

The program will resource activities that support the following outcomes, identify by Traditional Owners as underpinning strong Traditional Owner groups:


Come together, build understanding, strengthen relationships and engage in brave conversations and truth telling.

Culture and Country

Access, connect with and care for Country, and strengthen, protect and maintain culture.


Share and respect Aboriginal governance, strengthen group engagement, structures and and decision-making processes, set groups' own priorities and strengthen corporate governance capacity.

Young people

Engage young people in group governance, connect with Country, and foster strong mentor relationships that enable the transfer of knowledge between generations.


Build strong, positive relationships between groups and with government agencies and other external parties.

Formal recognition

Work towards formal recognition under the Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006, Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 and/or Native Title Act 1993, and engagement with treaty processes.

Branches of support

Branch 1: Training and capacity development

Purpose: Training and capacity building to develop skills and knowledge of Traditional Owners.

Access: All Traditional Owners, with priority given to Traditional Owners of the Regions.

Examples of activities:

  • facilitation skills workshops
  • Indigenous governance workshops
  • formal recognition workshops

Support available:

  • Training delivered in the regions.
  • All training costs, accommodation and travel will be covered.

Branch 2: Gatherings and meetings

Purpose: Support to come together, build and heal relationships, discuss governance and group priorities, be on Country, share knowledge and culture, engage in brave conversations and provide spaces for young people.

Access: Families and groups of the regions.

Example of activities:

  • family meetings and reunions
  • meetings between families
  • youth spaces
  • meetings between groups
  • meetings on Country
  • planning workshops

Support available:

  • Meeting costs up to $20,000 per meeting.
  • Independent facilitators and mediators.

Branch 3: Small projects

Purpose: Support or grants for small projects that support Traditional Owner families and groups to engage with healing, Culture and Country, governance, young people, relationships and formal recognition.

Access: Families and groups of the regions.

Examples of activities:

  • healing circles
  • cultural activities
  • trips on Country
  • knowledge sharing
  • mentoring
  • cultural protocols and constitution
  • governance projects
  • youth projects
  • truth telling
  • engagement protocols

Support available:

  • up to $25,000 per project
  • project planning workshop
  • project management support

Branch 4: Large projects

Purpose: Support or grants for large projects that support Traditional Owner groups and regions to engage with healing, culture and Country, governance, young people, relationships and formal recognition.

Access: Groups of the regions.

Examples of activities:

  • governance and planning projects
  • regional cultural events
  • knowledge sharing projects
  • regional healing and truth telling projects

Support available:

  • up to $100,000 per year
  • project planning workshop
  • project management support


Find eligibility, application details and key dates on our Guidelines page.

Accessing support

If you are interested in accessing support, give us a call to talk or arrange a time to meet. We can:

  • answer questions about the program and accessing support
  • talk through your meeting or project ideas
  • facilitate a planning workshop to develop projects and pathways for accessing support
  • provide assistance with applications
  • provide information about other resources and services available outside the program

Newsletters and updates

Sign up for newsletters and updates to stay informed about training and other activities.

More information

Download a flyer about the program:

Phone or email Aboriginal Victoria:

Jesse Williams, Engagement Officer

Nell Reidy, Senior Project Officer  

Reviewed 06 February 2020

Aboriginal Victoria

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