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Media release - Recruitment underway for Treaty Commissioners

Thursday, 11 April 2024

The NSW Labor Government is delivering on its election commitment to begin consultation about a treaty process with applications open for three commissioners to undertake this work. 

The treaty and agreement-making consultation is a first step that will ask Aboriginal communities across NSW if a formal agreement-making process would be desirable, and secondly what this could look like.

The commissioners will be appointed via an open, competitive process, with applications open until 8 May 2024. 

This work aligns with the 2020 Closing the Gap National Agreement, signed by then-prime minister Scott Morrison and then-premier Gladys Berejiklian.

This included as a priority reform the establishment of formal partnerships and shared decision-making with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to help close the gap faster in areas such as life expectancy, health and education.

NSW also follows other states and territories including Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT in commencing such a process. NSW is home to the largest Aboriginal population in Australia.

Treaty processes in other Australian jurisdictions have included discussions about improving service delivery to help move faster in closing the gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people. 

Interstate treaty and agreement-making processes have not been fast, so it is likely the process in NSW will be neither simple nor short. This is meaningful work that would drive improved outcomes for Aboriginal people, and all NSW taxpayers, so the NSW Government will not be rushing. 

The commissioners will be engaged for a fixed term appointment of two years. During this time, they will prepare for consultation, engage with Aboriginal communities in metropolitan, rural, regional and remote parts of NSW, before delivering a report on their findings to the government.

The NSW Government in the September 2023 budget allocated $5 million to fund this stage of the process.

For more information and to apply go to:

Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty, David Harris said:

“This consultation process is delivering on an election commitment as well as our commitments under Closing the Gap to share decision making with Aboriginal people and communities.

“It is important that Aboriginal people lead this consultation work and determine what forms a treaty or agreement process might look like.

“The process of treaty discussions is absolutely relevant to delivering Closing the Gap outcomes.

“Through Closing the Gap and in other areas, we spend a lot of money on Aboriginal programs and the results aren’t there.

“This could eventually help us target the funding, so that money goes where it is needed.

‘We now know that Aboriginal people and communities hold the answers to issues that impact them, so must be a part of the decision-making process.

“We know that when Aboriginal people have a direct say on issues that affect them, they get better outcomes.”

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