Path to Treaty: Government Pledges Support for Eminent Panel Recommendations

18 September 2020

QUEENSLAND’S Traditional Owners have reached an important milestone on the path to self-determination with the State Government pledging to implement all recommendations made by the Path to Treaty Eminent Panel, starting with the establishment of a Treaty Advancement Committee.

Releasing its Statement of Commitment on 13 August 2020, the pledge formed part of the Queensland Government’s response to recommendations made by the Panel earlier this year following extensive community consultation with Traditional Owners and other key parties all over Queensland. Some of the recommendations made by the Panel include:

  • The development of a process for truth telling and healing that recognises past wrongs and helps build relationships based on respect, fairness and equality;
  • Capacity building that facilitates Traditional Owner participation in the treaty process;
  • Adequate resourcing provided by a First Nations Treaty Future Fund; and
  • Legislative reforms that help bring treaty to fruition.

The Panel also sought to establish a statutory entity, the First Nations Treaty Institute, to lead the Path to Treaty process, however delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have suspended its creation until at least 2021.

To maintain momentum of Path to Treaty during the pandemic, the Queensland Government will instead create a Treaty Advancement Committee, the work of which will lay the foundation for establishing the future Institute.

Path to Treaty Opportunities for Native Title Holders

Over the past 18 months, QSNTS has been working collaboratively with key stakeholders to help shape a strong operating environment for Native Title Holders by advocating key political and economic measures that support Traditional Owners working toward self-determination.

As part of this work, QSNTS has supported Path to Treaty for its potential to not only recognise the rights belonging to Traditional Owners, but also to cultivate an operating environment in which Native Title Holders can meaningfully exercise those rights and leverage their Indigenous estate to gain social, political and economic independence.

A treaty (or treaties) will underpin the establishment of self-governance structures and provide recognition of Indigenous sovereignty that ensures laws will be made with Traditional Owners instead of merely for them.

For Native Title Holders, the potential for a treaty to provide guaranteed consideration of interests and a guaranteed voice will provide greater confidence in business dealings and better opportunities to leverage native title rights for the benefit of the wider community.

With these outcomes dually supported by Path to Treaty and QSNTS, we welcome the Queensland Government’s commitment to implementing the recommendations of the Eminent Panel with the establishment of the Treaty Advancement Committee.