In October 2023, Australians will be asked to vote on whether to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Constitution and establish a Voice to Parliament.
The Victorian National Parks Association strongly supports the collective call from First Nations Peoples for Voice, Treaty and Truth.
We support writing Yes.
Australia is home to the oldest continuous culture on Earth. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities have been caring for Country for millennia, and prior to colonisation flourished sustainably on this land and surrounding seas for generations.
Recognising and respecting the knowledge, cultures, stories, and languages of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will help us move forward from our past and progress together towards a brighter future.
Together we share a vision for the future as a nation that values justice, equity and fairness for all people.
Here are five reasons we support the YES vote:
- Our vision is that Victoria is a place with a diverse and healthy natural environment protected, respected and enjoyed by all. To achieve this vision, we need improved and respectful systems for listening to and understanding First Nation communities and their connection to Country.
- We recognise as unacceptable the historical and ongoing destruction of nature across Victoria and Australia. To create a liveable, equitable world, there must be a structural change to how government approaches policies that effect nature and First Nation communities.
- Establishing a Voice to Parliament acknowledges the enduring connection and custodianship that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have had over this land for tens of thousands of years. This invaluable knowledge and commitment to caring for Country is evident in the success of First Nations land and sea rangers across protected areas.
- First Nation communities should have a say in matters that directly affect their lives, including policies related to health, community, cultural heritage protection, and healing Country.
- This is why VNPA strongly supports the collective call from First Nations Peoples for Voice, Treaty and Truth. A Voice to Parliament is a critical step towards rectifying historical injustices, promoting cultural understanding, and building stronger relationships between First Nations and non-First Nations Australians.
By supporting the yes vote in the referendum, we demonstrate our commitment to reconciliation, social justice, and the fundamental role First Nations knowledge has in environmental stewardship.
Together, we can build a stronger and more inclusive nation that respects and celebrates the rich cultural heritage of First Nations people.
VNPA Council formally endorsed the support for the Voice after consultation.