The traditional owners of much of central Victoria have begun talking to councils in the region about potential treaty and what that would mean.
The Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation on Wednesday hosted an event with representatives of councils from across the region to introduce them to the treaty process and what treaty could mean for the Dja Dja Wurrung, local government and the wider community.
Dja Dja Wurrung corporation chief executive officer Rodney Carter said the event offered an opportunity to start conversations about the leadership role the Dja Dja Wurrung wanted to have in treaty discussions.
Mr Carter said the Aboriginal community was not largely represented in any party or elected process, but treaty offered the opportunity for that representation to occur.
"We would hope that the Dja Dja Wurrung actually bring value to the idea of communal governance and government," Mr Carter said.
Treaty would also elevate the Dja Dja Wurrung's influence and the significance of what the corporation did, he said, and partnerships with local government would be another advocate voice in the community.
Speaking after the event, City of Greater Bendigo chief executive officer Craig Niemann said treaty could involve such aspects as greater Dja Dja Wurrung involvement in the council's work, or building relationships around land management and ownership rights.
Mr Niemann said treaty between the Dja Dja Wurrung and local government could also clarify responsibilities around delivering expectations on goals outlined in the 2013 Recognition and Settlement Agreement between the state and the Dja Dja Wurrung people.
Related: Historic bill paves path to treaty
"We think there's a lot of opportunity to do work together, and for them to put their footprint back on country," Mr Niemann said.
Mr Carter said Wednesday's event would inform a discussion paper that would ultimately contribute to a position paper the Dja Dja Wurrung corporation is developing under a project funded by a state government treaty engagement grant.
Last year, the state government passed an historic piece of legislation that paved the way for treaty with Aboriginal Victorians.
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