The Queensland Government is set to establish a new Treaty Advancement Committee in a bid to progress the Path to Treaty process with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The recommendation was handed down by an Eminent Panel after three months of state-wide consultations, which involved discussions with First Nations peoples as well as non-Indigenous Queenslanders.

The report said the ultimate aim of proceeding with the Path to Treaty was to reach a Treaty or Treaties with Queensland’s First Nations peoples, with a focus on truth telling and healing, capacity building and community understanding and engagement.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was proud to support a Treatment Advancement Committee, and that it would ensure Queensland is well placed to consider the next steps in the journey to Treaty with First Nations Queenslanders.

“Today’s release of the Path to Treaty Statement of Commitment and response to the Eminent Panel recommendations shows our commitment to further Treaty conversations with all members of the community—including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners, Elders, leaders and key organisations across the state,” the Premier said.

“A Treaty Advancement Committee will provide independent advice on the implementation of the panel’s recommendations.”

Eminent Panel Co-Chairs Dr Jackie Huggins and Professor Michael Lavarch said the Palaszczuk Government’s commitment to forming the Treaty Advancement Committee is a step forward in the state’s journey towards Reconciliation.

“During the consultations many people said that Treaty was a way to deal with ‘unfinished business’, so I’m glad that Queenslanders will have that opportunity,” Dr Huggins said.

A Treaty has been a key demand of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Owners for over 40 years.

Following in the footsteps of Victoria and the Northern Territory, Queensland is the third Australian jurisdiction to begin the process of negotiating Treaty with First Nations peoples.

The Path to Treaty is part of a larger set of reforms that aim to reframe the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders. Grounded in self-determination and mutual respect, the reforms call for a commitment to forge new agreements around co-existence and aims to provide greater recognition, celebration and learning from First Nations peoples.

Queensland Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef; Science; and the Arts, Leeanne Enoch, said the establishment of a Treaty Advancement Committee will move the state forward in the process towards Treaty.

“As a proud Quandamooka woman, I know that our journey towards Treaty or Treaties will require an unwavering commitment to unpacking our past and forging a reconciled path that enables greater equality for First Nations peoples,” Minister Enoch said.

Minister Enoch said the announcement signalled a significant and historic step for Queensland, recognising the hard work of generations of people who were committed to better outcomes for First Nations Queenslanders.

Member for Cook and Iamalaig woman Cynthia Lui said Treaty would empower First Nations Queenslanders to be more included and involved in driving better outcomes for their communities.

“Treaty will give First Nations people a platform to negotiate improved policies, programs and services for communities,” Ms Lui said.

Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships Craig Crawford said the core aim of Path to Treaty was reshaping Queensland’s shared future.

“Establishing a Treaty or agreement making process—based on mutual understanding, respect and recognition—with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders will be fundamental to improving life outcomes for the First Peoples of this state,” Minister Crawford said.

“We will right the relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to deliver better economic, employment, health and housing outcomes for the First Nations people.”

By Imogen Kars