Statement of Commitment

A Reframed Relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders and the Queensland Government

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Queensland Government are building a reframed relationship that acknowledges, embraces and celebrates the humanity of Indigenous Australians. We are proud that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have continuing rights and responsibilities as the first peoples of Queensland, including traditional ownership and connection to land and waters.

In the spirit of healing, we recognise the past acts of dispossession, settlement and discriminatory policies, and the cumulative acts of colonial and state governments since the commencement of colonisation which have left an enduring legacy of economic and social disadvantage that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have experienced and continue to experience.

It is time to nurture hope and optimism. It is time to focus on strengths and not deficits and to move from surviving to thriving. This can only be done by the Queensland Government doing things with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and not ‘to them’.

We will move forward together with mutual respect, recognition and a willingness to speak the truth about our shared history.

Through our continued shared commitment to reconciliation, all Queenslanders will be part of this journey.

The Queensland Government and the Reparations Taskforce have developed this Statement of Commitment to affirm the joint commitment to a reframed relationship in response to recommendation seven of the Reparations Taskforce Report, Reconciling Past Injustice.

How we will work together

As we work together towards a reframed relationship, we will be guided by these principles:

  • Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Queensland
  • Self-determination
  • Respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures
  • Locally led decision-making
  • Shared commitment, shared responsibility and shared accountability
  • Empowerment
  • Free, prior and informed consent
  • A strengths based approach to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to support thriving communities.

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Our journey so far

Our journey recognises the 2010 amendments to the preamble of the Queensland Constitution which “honour the Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the First Australians, whose lands, winds and waters we all now share; and pay tribute to their unique values, and their ancient and enduring cultures, which deepen and enrich the life of our community”.

The Queensland Government, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and the Queensland community are already working together to build a reframed relationship, through:

  • The Queensland Government’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2018–2021
  • The Human Rights Act 2019 which acknowledges the importance of the right to self-determination to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders
  • The commitment to the legal recognition of traditional Torres Strait Islander child rearing practices
  • The establishment of the Queensland First Children and Families Board
  • The appointment of the First Nations Housing Advisor
  • Holding an annual meeting between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elected members and Queensland Cabinet members
  • Our Way: A generational strategy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families 2017–2037
  • The commitment to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have increased representation on various government boards and committees.

These commitments are important steps towards a reframed relationship.

We recognise that the greatest progress in outcomes is achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples lead the way in such work

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Accountability

The overarching outcomes sought from this reframed relationship are to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders to build on strengths and to support thriving communities. The focus will be on building partnerships directed to negotiated solutions to complex problems and which support the following shared outcomes:

  • Treaties and agreement making
  • Healing and truth telling
  • Relationships anchored by high expectations
  • Investing in and embracing local leadership
  • Vibrant cultures and communities
  • Innovative policy programs
  • Negotiated solutions to complex challenges
  • Guaranteed service outcomes.

Together we will work out the best ways to guide and monitor our progress toward a reframed relationship and will build on the existing ways we evaluate our progress through annual reporting on:

  • Queensland Government Reconciliation Action Plan achievements, challenges and learnings
  • Closing the Gap Report Card and Statement
  • Ministerial and Government Champions Program.

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Our next steps

The next steps to reframing the relationship will be underpinned by the principle of self-determination actioned through truth telling, empowerment, agreement making and high expectations relationships.

With this in mind, the Queensland Government is committed to working together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to co-design and implement the Local Thriving Communities reform to facilitate local level decision-making and agreements, and develop the Path to Treaty. As a first step on the Path to Treaty, an Eminent Panel of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders and non-Indigenous Queenslanders will provide leadership to deliver on this commitment in a way that will be embraced and in the interests of all Queenslanders.

The Queensland Government is also committed to empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders to have a voice to government.

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