Historic signing of ‘Tracks to Treaty’ commitment

Published Sunday, 14 July, 2019 at 02:07 PM


Premier and Minister for Trade
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships
The Honourable Jackie Trad

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

The Queensland Government has today commenced the journey towards negotiated treaties with First Nations Queenslanders.

To mark the end of NAIDOC Week, the Queensland Government signed a historic joint Statement of Commitment as part of the Tracks to Treaty - Reframing the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders initiative.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said developing the Path to Treaty element of the initiative was a significant step forward in the reconciliation journey.

“Today the Queensland Government commits to taking the next steps in this journey to engage with the community on developing a process for state-wide agreement making with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“Tracks to Treaty marks a monumental reform journey at the local, regional and statewide level in Queensland. It promotes and supports self-determination, truth-telling, local decision making, and better life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

“We believe that a path to treaty will benefit all Queenslanders and help promote reconciliation, foster a shared pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and help heal the wounds of the past.”

Deputy Premier and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Jackie Trad said Queensland was ready to have a conversation about treaty.

“As a state we have led the nation with reform that acknowledges past injustices and recognises and celebrates the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” said Ms Trad.

“Whether it’s the historic 1993 Mabo case, which brought about Native Title laws in Australia, the Queensland Parliament apology to the Stolen Generations in 1999, or the 2010 amendment to the preamble of the Queensland Constitution to honour Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Australians, Queensland has always been front and centre of the conversation about recognising and advancing the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders.

“It comes because Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders are calling for a new relationship moving forward, where actions must speak louder than words.

“We hope that this process goes some way to right the wrongs of the past and sets the foundation for a new and just relationship towards our shared future.

“In the coming weeks we will release a discussion paper to provide an opportunity for Queenslanders to have their say on this important journey.”

Minister for Environment and Member for Algester Leeanne Enoch said Tracks to Treaty will help to put Queensland on a stronger path toward meaningful, impactful partnerships based on the truth of our state’s history.

“In Queensland we have been laying the groundwork for agreement making and today's announcement is the next step towards a future that acknowledges the true and ancient history of our state, reconciles the past and builds ways forward to benefit us all," Ms Enoch said.

“This is an historic step we take together, one that is long overdue but one that will strengthen the way to greater reconciliation, self determination and a more inclusive, respectful shared future.” 

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said moving towards a more collaborative partnership would help to deliver outcomes better suited to each community’s unique needs.

“This is a truly historic moment in that it gives recognition and greater voice to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples right throughout Queensland,” Ms Lui said.

“This launch signifies a positive step in the right direction for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in achieving positive outcomes and meaningful outcomes moving into the future.

“This will give communities – especially communities in my electorate – the opportunity to have a voice on decisions that impact their future.”

Mick Gooda, former Chair of the Reparations Taskforce, said Path to Treaty builds on the earlier work of the Reparations Taskforce, and acknowledges the willingness to move forward together with mutual respect, recognition and openness to speak the truth about our shared history.

“The Path to Treaty is about community engagement and ownership at its core, and having that drive our future relationship,” said Mr Gooda.

“It’s about talking to the community and understanding what’s important to them, because a treaty might mean different things for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders and the broader Queensland community.”

An Eminent Panel of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders and Indigenous Queenslanders will provide leadership to deliver on this commitment in the best interests of all Queenslanders.

The panel will be co-chaired by Dr Jackie Huggins AM and Michael Lavarch AO.

A Treaty Working Group will lead state-wide consultation and engagement beginning in the second half of 2019, as part of developing the Path to Treaty process.

The Deputy Premier said the Tracks to Treaty initiative also included implementation of the Local Thriving Communities reform, which seeks to improve government service delivery, governance, and economic opportunities starting in 19 remote and discrete communities.

“We know that the current service delivery system is not working as well as it should. Bureaucratic processes can be cumbersome and delivery mechanisms sometimes hinder rather than facilitate and enable outcomes,” she said.

“The Queensland Government is committed to making this right, to working with local communities to promote self-determination and local community development.

“Local Thriving Communities embeds structural and cultural change that will fundamentally change the way that the Queensland Government does business with communities.

“This means working in genuine partnership with individual Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to identify and implement workable solutions tailored to the priorities, goals and leadership structures in each community.

“The Local Thriving Communities program will not be a one size fits all model.

“We are under no illusions about what is required to succeed, and we expect that we will have to work through challenges along the way. If this was easy – it would have been done already.

“I am committed to working closely with mayors, community leaders, stakeholders and the communities to deliver on the Local Thriving Communities agenda.

The Deputy Premier said a Joint Coordination Committee had been established with representatives from both community and Government to provide oversight and implementation guidance of the program.

“And we are working with Ministerial and Government Champions for remote and discrete communities to support implementation, integration, coordination and accountability,” she said.

For more information about the Tracks to Treaty initiative visit: www.datsip.qld.gov.au/tracks.

Media contact: Dan Lato - 0438 891 158