A treaty between New South Wales and First Nations people won’t happen this term, but the state’s premier says he’d take it to an election.
Speaking to Sydney’s 2GB Radio on Monday, Chris Minns says his government needs to consult with Indigenous groups before committing to a treaty.
“We’ve got to begin the process of treaty, we believe it’s important to have that dialogue, but any substantial or major changes we make to our arrangements in New South Wales we’d have to take to an election.
All we’re promising is to start that dialogue and start that communication.”
Mr Minns says those conversations haven’t happened yet.
“I haven’t begun conversations with First Nations people, primarily because they were so focused on the Voice Referendum of two weeks ago, and that’s been their focus, their drive and direction.
So we need to get around the table and talk to them.
But I’m not announcing any changes to New South Wales in the face of the Voice being defeated two weeks ago.
All I’m saying is that we got to have progress, and we’ve got to have meaningful dialogue.
And I think a lot of people, even those who voted ‘No’ would suggest that is a good thing, Closing the Gap measures and having more progress to reconciliation is important for the state.”
The comments go against what the premier told the Guardian Australia last week where he said the process had already begun.
“We’ve started the process, I think the people of NSW trust us.
We’ll be responsible, we’ll be reasonable, we’ll do it in concert with First Nations people.
Whatever we choose, we’ll do it obviously by bringing it to the parliament and fully discussing it with the people of NSW.”
When asked on Monday what those changes would be the premier did not elaborate what was possible for this rest of the term.
The state still hasn’t appointed three commissioners to oversee the treaty process which was outlined by the state’s Aboriginal Affairs and Treaty Minister David Harris in April.
He told the National Indigenous Times Earlier this year, that the government was planning on setting up treaty legislation this term.
“The important thing is, in this term of government there’s something that’s legislated so that the government’s moving forward will be able to work within an agreed parameter.”
When asked by the Guardian what the state’s current plans are, he did not confirm if or when the commissioners would be appointed, adding despite the government campaigning for a Yes vote in the referendum he would respect the state’s 60 per cent ‘No’ Vote.
Image Credit Adam J.W.C Via Wikimedia Commons