Yoorrook to hear from the Premier, Ministers, Traditional Owners and churches at land injustice hearings  

For media enquiries, please contact Evan Schuurman 0408 847 385 or [email protected]

April 11, 2024

On Monday the Yoorrook Justice Commission will resume hearings into the systemic injustices experienced by First Peoples in relation to the land, sky and waters. 

The hearings will include evidence from First Peoples and representatives of the Victorian Government and churches. Traditional Owners will provide insights into caring for country, fire management, cultural heritage and access to water across the three weeks of hearings.  

Witnesses will include: 

  • Steve Dimopoulous, Minister for Environment on Tuesday 16 April 
  • Ngarra Murray and Rueben Berg, Co-Chairs of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria on Wednesday 17 April 
  • Natalie Hutchins, Minister for Treaty & First Peoples on Thursday 18 April 
  • Lily D’Ambrosio, Minister for Climate Action, Energy and Resources on Monday 22 April 
  • Harriet Shing, Minister for Water, and Tati Tati Elder Uncle Brendan Kennedy on Wednesday 24 April near Robinvale by the Murray River 
  • Premier Jacinta Allan on Monday 29 April
  • Church representatives in the latter part of the week commencing 29 April 

With the exception of the two on-Country days, all hearings will take place at the Yoorrook hearing room at 54 Wellington St, Collingwood. All hearings are open for the public and media to attend and will be livestreamed via the Yoorrook Justice Commission website. The hearing schedule will be available later this week on the Yoorrook website. 

Yoorrook Commissioner Travis Lovett, who is leading the inquiry into land, sky and waters, said:

“Yoorrook’s inquiry into land, sky and waters goes to the heart of understanding the ongoing systemic injustice experienced by First Peoples.  

“Commissioners have already heard evidence of brutal massacres of First Peoples, the illegal taking of Aboriginal land by colonisers, and the destruction of our cultures through the denial of language, continued access to Country and the ability to continually practice our ceremonies 

“Colonisation saw the beginning of two centuries of injustice experienced by First Peoples in Victoria. We can’t undo the past, but we can learn from it and create a better shared future. 

“Now it is time to hear from Government and other key stakeholders. Importantly two hearings in the next fortnight will be held on Country. It is fundamental for the Premier and Water Minister to hear truth firsthand from Traditional Owners as part of the truth telling process. These hearings are an invitation for all Victorians to listen, learn and engage in this shared truth telling process.” 

Over the past 5 months, Yoorrook Commissioners and staff have spoken with over 850 Traditional Owners on issues relating to land, sky and waters, including at 29 information sessions and 18 Traditional Owner Roundtables in over 30 locations across the state. 

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