Queensland Government announces 'conversation' to formalise Indigenous treaty
Updated yesterday at 6:10pm
The Queensland Government has committed to starting a conversation about a pathway to an Indigenous treaty, but says it could be years before anything is finalised.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad announced the Government's Indigenous reform agenda during a NAIDOC ceremony in Brisbane on Sunday.
"Today is about recognising that fundamental to underpinning the success and the betterment of the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is a much better relationship between Government and the community," she said.
In a statement of commitment, the State Government promised to appoint a panel which would include Indigenous leaders Dr Jackie Huggins and Mick Gooda, and former governor-general Quentin Bryce.
"We've been waiting for a long time for this," Dr Huggins said.
"It can't be something that's totally rushed but it is well overdue."
A treaty working group will also be established to consult with government.
Ms Trad said the state's First Nations people played an "important and integral" role in decision making, but she could not provide a time frame for treaty negotiations.
"I'm not here to rush anything," she said.
"I don't come to this saying 'this is how it should all happen and by when'.
"I'm saying we need to start this conversation.
"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."
Meanwhile, the Opposition wants to look at the proposal in more detail, but Shadow Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Dr Christian Rowan said the State Government was failing Indigenous communities.
"When I travel around Queensland and I talk to Indigenous Queenslanders about what they want, they want practical measures now which are going to assist them.
"And that's ensuring that they get access to education and health services and job opportunities to be able to provide not only for themselves, but for their families, and that's what would be meaningfully important for them now," Dr Rowan said.
Former Queensland premier Campbell Newman also weighed in on the proposal on Twitter, where he called the Queensland Government's priorities into question.
Faltering economy, precarious State Govt finances, massive increase in land tax on foreign investment & @AnnastaciaMP & @jackietrad want to propose a "Treaty" without public consideration of costs and taking it either to an election or a referendum #wrongpriorities
The move to start a conversation about a pathway to an Indigenous treaty comes less than a week after the State Government settled a $190 million dollar stolen wages case for unpaid Queensland Indigenous workers.
Indigenous MP Leanne Enoch labelled it a "historic moment" for Queenslanders.
"I think many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will be incredibly proud," she said.
"It has been a long time coming.
"This marks the next most powerful step we take together."
First posted Sun at 2:10pm