The Interim Truth and Treaty Body announced on Friday a series of public forums that will be held in regional centers, seeking input from local communities on Truth and Treaty in Queensland.
These meetings will provide important updates on the establishment of a First Nations Treaty Institute and a Truth-telling and Healing Inquiry, which are vital commitments that have been made to advance the Treaty process for Queensland.
The forums are the first of many, as the Interim Truth and Treaty Body (ITTB) seeks to engage with communities throughout the region to gather ideas and expectations to help shape the future of Treaty in Queensland.
ITTB co-chairs Ms Cheryl Buchanan, a proud Guwamu woman from southwest Queensland, and Sallyanne Atkinson AO note it's important to get the next steps right to set a firm foundation that will progress this signifcant program of work.
"We hope that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people come to these sessions to make sure communities are informed and all Queenslanders have a say in how we move forward," said Ms Buchanan.
"The Institute and Inquiry need to be strong from the start and reflect clear expectations of being co-designed but community-led," said Ms Atkinson.
The ITTB has been delegated the responsibility of seeking public advice to land on preferred models for the Institute and Inquiry outlining how they are governed and what the Inquiry should achieve.
During the Community Yarning sessions, participants will have the opportunity to provide feedback on their desired governance structure for the Institute, ensuring that it is inclusive and representative of the ranging perspectives of First Nations Peoples throughout Queensland.
Announced as an independent body in August 2022, the ITTB recently co-designed legislation the Path to Treaty Bill 2023 with the Government, which is now being assessed by the Parliamentary Community Support and Services Committee.
It marks the first time in Queensland for an independent body to work in tandem with the Queensland Government to co-create a bill. This collaboration sets a significant milestone in treaty negotiations and offers a glimpse at what the future of these negotiations can hold.
"Treaty, through truth-telling, is not about guilt, but more about honesty. Truth-telling will not be easy for any of us," said Ms Atkinson.
"We will need to confront the positive and negative stories honestly and openly from both sides First Nations communities and Government. That's how we will get to treaty-negotiations."
"We know there is an openness to be informed about Truth and Treaty. Although this is not the only chance communities will have to participate, I hope people can make this small commitment and get involved now."
Community Yarning sessions will be updated on the ITTB website as more locations are identified here.