AEC News and Policy
AEC policy and advocacy focuses on the rights and wellbeing of Aboriginal people in Victoria. The AEC works to influence the State and Commonwealth Governments, public authorities, non-government organisations and the philanthropic sector.
AEC policy and advocacy aims to secure whole of government systemic reforms that transfer power and resources to Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations across all sectors.
For more information on AEC policy and advocacy work contact Julian Pocock AEC Executive Officer or AEC Senior Policy Officer Janelle Young You can register to receive the quarterly AEC updates through the AEC Bulletin
Victorian Closing the Gap Implementation Plan
The National Agreement on Closing the Gap agreed in July 2020 requires all governments and the Coalition of Peaks to prepare detailed implementation plans by August 2021.
Government implementation plans must be developed with the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peaks members in each State and Territory; in Victoria with the AEC and other Victorian Aboriginal governance structures.
National updates on Closing the Gap from the Coalition of Peaks are available here
The Victorian Implementation plan has been tabled in State Parliament can be downloaded here.
The plan commits Victoria to grow and sustain the ACCO sector including by transferring funding from State Government Departments and mainstream organisations to Aboriginal community control, pursing wage parity between ACCOs and the public sector, long term investment in ACCO service and community infrastructure and aligning the State Budget process with Aboriginal population growth and priorities identified by Aboriginal Governance Structures.
The State Government and AEC will be briefing ACCOs and Aboriginal Governance Structures on the details of the implementation plan over the second half of 2021.
AEC contact: Julian Pocock AEC Executive Officer.
Yoo-rrook Justice Commission
The establishment of the Yoo-rrook Commission provides the first comprehensive and genuine opportunity for Victoria’s First Peoples to drive a truth telling process with the capacity to confront historical and embedded racism, support healing and secure long term commitments to reparations and justice.
The Commission’s objectives and terms of reference include;
Establishing an official public record based on First Peoples’ experiences of systemic injustices since the start of colonisation; and
Identifying systemic injustices that currently impede First Peoples achieving self-determination and equality and make recommendations to address injustices.
Areas of ongoing systemic injustice that the Commission will explore and make recommendations on include in the areas of policing, youth and criminal justice, incarceration and detention, child protection, family and welfare matters, economic, social and political life and health and health care.
The AEC supports the work of the Commission and encourages ACCOs across all sectors to engage with the Commission and provide recommendations on addressing systemic injustices.
Detailed information on the Yoo-rrook Commission is available here
2020 Victorian Government Aboriginal Affairs Report (VGAAR)
Tabled in State Parliament with Victoria’s Closing the Gap Implementation Plan the Victorian Government Aboriginal Affairs Report (VGAAR) provides an update from the State Government on progress against the goals and measures of the 2018-2023 Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework (VAAF). The VGAAR tracks progress across a range of socio-economic, health, welfare and wellbeing and education, employment and housing indicators.
Under the VAAF the State Government committed to establishing an Independent Aboriginal Led Evaluation and Review Mechanism to provide independent reporting against the VAAF. That mechanism is yet to be developed, a matter the AEC has raised with Government. The 2020 VGAAR is a self-evaluation rather than an independent evaluation. From next year the VGAAR will include an independent critique prepared by the AEC.
The 2020 VGAAR is available here and an online data dashboard with data on how Victoria is progressing against the measures and indicators in the VAAF can be accessed here
Legislating the right to Aboriginal Self Determination
While the current State Government has made clear policy commitments to the right of Aboriginal people to self-determination the AEC is advocating that the right to Aboriginal self-determination must be enshrined in Victorian Legislation. This should include legislating to give effect to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, to which Australia is a signatory.
The AEC is preparing a briefing paper on options and opportunities to embed self-determination in legislation. This will include adding the right to self-determination in Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and within the Financial Management Act to give Aboriginal communities and organisations a stronger level of shared decision making in relation to the annual State Budget.
The paper will draw on existing examples where self-determination is recognised in Victorian legislation and examples where other First Nations communities have succeeded in having the right to self-determination written into law. The AEC will liaise closely with the First People’s Assembly of Victoria on approaches to embedding self-determination.
AEC contact: Janelle Young – Senior Policy Officer
Commonwealth funding in Victoria
The Commonwealth Government has a number of national funding programs specifically intended to benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. The AEC is preparing an analysis of the national proportion of this funding that is allocated to Victoria, and how much of that funding is allocated to Aboriginal agencies and to mainstream.
Our initial analysis suggests that of the Commonwealth funding intended specifically to benefit Aboriginal people in Victoria up to 35% is being provided to mainstream organisations – including in some cases with no open tender process. The new National Agreement on Closing the Gap requires Governments to prioritise funding to ACCOs and transfer resources to Aboriginal community control. The AEC will be using the National Agreement on Closing the Gap to pursue this in Victoria.
AEC contact: Janelle Young – Senior Policy Officer
National Voice to Parliament
The AEC provided a submission to the Commonwealth Government in relation to proposals for an Indigenous Voice to the Commonwealth Government and Federal Parliament. The AEC supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart including the need for a National First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the constitution. The AEC submission argues that in relation to a voice to the Commonwealth Government a major issue is not a lack of First Nations voices advocating to the Commonwealth Government, but the Commonwealth Government’s inability to adequately listen and respond.
AEC submission to the ‘National Voice’ is available here