INDIGENOUS leaders want to walk away from a Bendigo gathering with ideas to stop governments "doing what they do best and getting their own way".
Victoria's First Peoples' Assembly is meeting over two days in the city to discuss ideas for an independent umpire and funding pool guarding against governments ignoring Indigenous voices, co-chair Marcus Stewart said.
"So then, we don't have Traditional Owners coming to the table and governments using the tactics they have previously used, whether that be funding or timelines to actually bulldoze for what they want," he said.
Co-chair Geri Atkinson hoped funding would put Victoria's Indigenous peoples on an equal footing with the government when negotiations start in a few years' time.
"They're questions we need to put to government. Just how do we appropriate them?" Auntie Geri said.
"The funds are going to be really important on this journey we are taking. We want our people to have access to those funds to ensure they get the right advice from experts, from lawyers and people who have been involved in native title."
Marcus said a win from the Bendigo gathering would be producing ideas for an independent Cultural authority to help keep treaty negotiations balanced.
He hoped for ideas about how strong Aboriginal voices would be in the authority, and how to shape it using Aboriginal lore.
The Assembly's elected representatives would then be able to take ideas back to their constituents for feedback, before discussions with government leaders progressed.
"One thing we will take to the table, and fight for, with the government is to make sure this is Aboriginal-led," Marcus said.
"What we know is that outcomes are dramatically improved, and we improve Aboriginal people's lives, when Traditional Owners are in the driver's seat."
Whatever is decided over the coming year will need input from governments, Marcus said.
"That's the beauty of negotiations," he said.
Actual treaty talks will not begin until at least 2023 at this stage, after, after the Assembly's work on frameworks is done.
Auntie Geri thanked the Dja Dja Wurrung for welcoming the Assembly to Country on Thursday and urged people from all backgrounds to immerse themselves in Indigenous knowledge.
"They [the Dja Dja Wurrung] are part of the oldest living culture in the world," she said.
"We want you to learn that Culture, respect that Culture and walk on our journey towards Treaty together."
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