Good news friends! The Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews has recently announced the following:
Aboriginal Victorians will have a stronger voice at the centre of the Victorian Government, following the review of the Office of Aboriginal Affairs Victoria (OAAV).
Announcing the Andrews Labor Government’s response to the review today, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Natalie Hutchins said OAAV would become Aboriginal Victoria and be given improved support and resources to deliver its services and advance self-determination.
Earlier this year, the Department of Premier and Cabinet appointed former departmental secretary Yehudi Blacher to undertake a review of OAAV to ensure it was best placed to deliver on the Labor Government’s commitment to Aboriginal Victorians.
As part of the review, Mr Blacher recommended structural and governance changes to ensure a whole-of-government approach, boosting support and resources for the portfolio and enhanced engagement with the Aboriginal community.
Under the changes, and reflecting the Labor Government’s proposed changes to theAboriginal Heritage Act 2006, the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council (VAHC) will be given genuine independent status, with the VAHC secretariat operating at the direction of the Council.
The Labor Government will also establish a new engagement framework with Aboriginal leaders to inform policy priorities and action, including:
- A Premier’s Gathering with Aboriginal leaders, focussing on high-level strategic issues relating to the future of Aboriginal people in Victoria;
- A new Victorian Government Ministerial Forum, held with Ministers across government and Aboriginal peak and state-wide service delivery agencies; and
- A new Aboriginal Victoria Forum with Traditional Owners, Registered Aboriginal Parties, Aboriginal community organisations, peak bodies, state-wide agencies , other representative groups and the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs.
Regional staff working as Local Aboriginal Network brokers and in heritage roles previously located in Regional Development Victoria, will become part of Aboriginal Victoria within the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Additionally, the Labor Government will soon release its first annual Aboriginal Affairs Report, providing a clear assessment ofVictoria’s efforts in closing the gap.
Mr Blacher’s review undertook extensive stakeholder engagement, including with Aboriginal community organisations, peak bodies, state-wide agencies and department staff.
Government is listening to what we have been campaigning for for many years!