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Indigenous reconciliation inquiry established in Victoria

Published: (Updated: ) in Australian News by .

Victoria has become the first state in Australia to launch an inquiry into past and ongoing injustices against Indigenous people.

For the first time in Australia an inquiry has been established into historical and ongoing injustices committed against Aboriginal people in Victoria.

Named after the Wemba Wemba/Wamba Wamba word for 'truth', the Yoo-rrook Justice Commission will begin its work in the coming months with the full power of a royal commission.

The inquiry is independent to the government and will investigate both past and present injustices committed against Aboriginal Victorians, across all areas of social, political, cultural and economic life.

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The establishment of the Commission makes Victoria the first and only state to institute a formal truth-telling forum.

Acting Premier James Merlino said the inquiry would be at arms length from government and in line with calls from the First Peoples Assembly.

"This is long overdue," Mr Merlino said.

"It's an acknowledgement that the pain in our past is presence in the lives of people right now.

"It's a recognition that without truth, without justice, you can't have a treaty.

"You can't have true reconciliation for all Victorians until we go through this process.'

Aunty Geraldine Atkinson who is co-chair of the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria said it will be a difficult process for Indigenous people.

"We know that it's going to be a traumatic experience and I fear for the families who have to do it," Ms Atkinson said.

"They endured genocide, massacres and that truth needs to be told."

Marcus Stewart, who is also a member of the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria, said the inquiry had the power to bring people together.

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"Words escape me as to how much this means," Mr Stewart said.

"It's historic, it's significant … it's a testament to the leadership … on this journey towards treaty.

"We can create a Victoria that we all connect with, that we all belong with."

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The inquiry was developed by Victorian Government and the First Peoples' Assembly of Victoria - the state's first and only democratically-elected body for Aboriginal people.

"As a state, as a nation, we must do better," a statement from the government said.

"That means not only hearing Aboriginal voices – but actually listening to them. And taking meaningful action in order to achieve real and lasting change."

"It will compel us to confront what's come before. To acknowledge that the pain in our past lives on in our present.

"And to recognise that without truth, without justice, there can be no Treaty."

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/national/victoria-indigenous-reconciliation-inquiry-historical-ongoing-injustices-committed-against-aboriginal-people/61bcd442-159d-4a9c-9984-cf77e7c721c4

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