Yoorrook shifts focus to land, sky and waters in truth telling process

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October 16, 2023

The Yoorrook Justice Commission has commenced its inquiry into land, sky and waters as the next part of the truth telling process in Victoria.

Yoorrook’s evidence gathering for this area of inquiry will include roundtable discussions with Traditional Owner groups, organisations and individuals. It will also include formal hearings, visits to sites of significance, issuing notices to produce and receiving submissions from members of the public.

The Commission has released an Issues Paper today inviting individuals and organisations to make submissions relating to land, sky and waters by 17 November 2023.

Kerrupmara/Gunditjmara man Commissioner Travis Lovett, who is leading the inquiry into land, sky and waters said:

“The past few months, as Australia debated the Voice proposal, have been incredibly challenging for First Peoples. Now we must find ways to move forward together.

“The work of the Yoorrook Justice Commission is more important than ever. Yoorrook is investigating the impact colonisation has had and continues to have on First Peoples in Victoria. Yoorrook is listening to all Victorians and making recommendations to right the wrongs of the past and build a better future for everyone.

“Yoorrook is focusing now on land, sky and waters. First Peoples have been caring for country for thousands of generations. The history of Europeans coming to Victoria 200 years ago and taking First Peoples’ land is one of wrongdoing and devastating loss. But it is also a story First Peoples’ resistance, survival and ongoing connection to country.

“To move forward together, we must reckon with this past, and that includes understanding history from First Peoples’ perspective.

“We invite First Peoples and all Victorians to make a submission on land, sky and waters. Together we can find common ground and work toward a better shared future for everyone in this place we all call home.”

Notes for editors:

  • The Yoorrook Justice Commission is Victoria’s formal truth telling inquiry and the first of its kind in Australia. It was established through Letters Patent in May 2021 by the Victorian Government and the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria.
  • Yoorrook recently published its latest interim report Yoorrook for Justice: Report into the Child Protection and Criminal Justice Systems.
  • Issues papers on health, housing and education will be released for public submissions over the next few months.
  • The Yoorrook Justice Commission is due to conclude its work in June 2025.

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