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Pathway to Truth-Telling and Treaty - Delivering on Recommendations

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 24 November 2022

Tags: Tasmanian Aboriginals, Treaty


It is almost exactly a year since professors Kate Warner and Tim McCormack handed down their landmark report on a Pathway to Truth-Telling and Treaty. In that year, there has been radio silence on progressing the report's recommendations from both you and your Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Indeed, recently your Government could not even commit to a key recommendation to return kooparoona niara/Great Western Tiers to Aboriginal ownership and management. We know you have been focused on giving Tasmanians another stadium they do not want, need, or can afford, but surely you agree that delivering on truth, treaty, justice, and the return of land should be a core priority of your Government. Will any of the recommendations made in professors Warner and McCormack's report be delivered by your Government in this term of parliament?



Mr Speaker, I thank the member for the question. I reinforce our commitment to a Pathway to Truth-Telling and Treaty. Earlier this year, I and the minister met with representatives from Tasmanian Aboriginal organisations at a gathering in Launceston to have a practical conversation about how to conduct an Aboriginal-led process to guide the way forward. Following that discussion, the minister asked all organisations that had been invited to the gathering to send him their nominations for membership of an advisory group comprised of Aboriginal people to co-design with government a clear and defined process for Truth-Telling and Treaty. Having received and considered those nominations, the Government is now in the process of finalising the advisory group.

Following the release of the Pathway to Truth-Telling and Treaty report in November 2021, the Government committed to providing an update after receiving the report. We wrote to Aboriginal organisations seeking their feedback on the report's recommendations and what the next steps on our journey towards true reconciliation will look like. There was a variety of views in the report's content and recommendations. However, the feedback indicated broad support to take further steps in establishing Truth-Telling and Treaty processes.

Following receipt of this feedback, the former premier and the minister met with members of the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre and TRACA to discuss what the next steps of this process should look like. As a result of those discussions, the former premier announced in his state of the state Address that the Government would establish an Aboriginal advisory group to work with the Government to establish these two processes and consider the other recommendations in the report. The Government is now in the process of finalising the advisory group and has provided an update on that.

The discussion focused on the concept of an Aboriginal advisory group, a group of widely trusted Aboriginal people who can work together with the Government to get us to the starting point of a Pathway to Truth-Telling and Treaty. It was noted that the proposed Aboriginal advisory group is not necessarily the group that will actually conduct the Truth Telling and Treaty process, rather its purpose is to co-design the next steps that get us to the beginning of those processes.

We know there have been increased costs to Aboriginal people who have engaged in the process to date, which is why we provided a $500 000 allocation in the 2022-23 Budget to offset the cost of this process as it progresses. The Aboriginal advisory group will be supported by the Government to do whatever work it feels is needed, including liaising with other jurisdictions, undertaking research, seeking legal advice and consulting with Aboriginal people across the state to capture their views, and members will be remunerated for their time and costs of participating in the group.

So there is progress, Ms O'Connor, with these matters. You asked me about land handback. We are absolutely committed to land handback to the Aboriginal people. I have made that clear as Premier, as did the former premier. We are very committed to that.