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Federal budget to invest $56 million in Voice referendum and Makarrata Commission

Giovanni Torre -

The federal government's budget announced Tuesday night includes $56 million in funding for a referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to parliament in the Constitution and to begin work on establishing a Makarrata Commission.

Minister for Indigenous Australians Linda Burney reiterated the government's commitment to implementing the Uluru Statement in full, starting with a referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.

"Last night's Budget delivers on that promise," she said.

"We are... investing $5.8 million to begin work on establishing an independent Makarrata, to oversee processes for agreement-making and truth-telling. This is an important step forward.

"We have also committed $50.2 million to the AEC to prepare for a Referendum."

Greens First Nations spokesperson, Gunnai, Gunditjmara and DjabWurrung Senator Lidia Thorpe, welcomed the move as "an investment in real power for First Nations people".

"Labor announcing funding for Truth and Treaty is a massive win for our grassroots, community campaign on Treaty," she said.

"Our communities need to be in the driver's seat of all Truth and Treaty processes. I'll keep working with Labor to progress a self-determined, grassroots consultation process in this term of parliament.

"First Nations people have been fighting for Treaty for decades. Our Elders marched for it, the Hawke Labor Government promised it in the '80s. Treaty is a formal agreement that protects First Nations rights and sets the terms for First Nations people to negotiate with the government. It sets the baseline."

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