About Path to Treaty

Path to Treaty is the journey to create a new future between First Nations and non-Indigenous Queenslanders.

The Queensland Government started the Path to Treaty conversation with all Queenslanders in 2019, with truth-telling and healing at the heart of this dialogue.

There is no treaty agreement with First Nations peoples. Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islander people were displaced from their land without any negotiation, resulting in political, economic and social inequalities that continue to this day.

In 2019, the Queensland Government decided to start the conversation with all Queenslanders, to heal the past and create a reframed relationship with First Nations people.

The journey so far

Phase One – Starting the conversation

  • July 2019 — Launch of Tracks to Treaty and the Statement of Commitment to a reframed relationship with First Nations people
  • September to December 2019 — Eminent Panel and Treaty Working Group state-wide consultations
  • February 2020 — Eminent Panel recommendations and Treaty Working Group report
  • May 2020 — Eminent Panel supplementary advice and recommendations
  • August 2020 —Queensland Government releases Statement of Commitment and response to the Eminent Panel recommendations

Phase Two – Advancing the Path to Treaty

  • February 2021 — Treaty Advancement Committee appointed
  • June 2021 — Establishment of Path to Treaty Fund to support the treaty process
  • April to October 2021 — Treaty Advancement Committee community briefings held across the state
  • October 2021 —Formal handover of the Treaty Advancement Committee Report

The Eminent Panel and Treaty Working Group

Phase One of the treaty process commenced with the establishment of the Eminent Panel to start the treaty process, supported by the Treaty Working Group to lead the public consultation process on what a treaty or treaties might mean to all Queenslanders.

The Eminent Panel Co-Chairs were Emeritus Professor Michael Lavarch AO and Dr Jackie Huggins AM, with other members being the Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO, Mr Mick Gooda, Mr Kerry O’Brien, Dr Josephine Bourne and Mr Dan Crowley.

Treaty Working Group Co-Chairs were Dr Jackie Huggins AM and Mr Mick Gooda, and the membership was made up of Mr Kenny Bedford, Ms Cheryl Buchanan, Mr Leon Filewood, Ms Charmaine Foley, Mr Shane Hoffman, Ms Elsie Seriat, Ms Sandi Taylor and Ms Kate Tully.

During Phase One, there was high interest and engagement in the 2019 community consultation phase. This engagement involved the Eminent Panel and Treaty Working Group conducting public consultation across Queensland from September to December 2019, attended by more than 1,000 people in 24 locations.

Public consultations were held in Barcaldine, Birdsville, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Caboolture, Cairns, Charleville, Cherbourg, Coen, Cunnamulla, Gold Coast, Ipswich, Kowanyama, Logan, Mackay, Mitchell, Mount Isa, Rockhampton, Roma, Thursday Island, Toowoomba, Townsville, Weipa and Woorabinda.  In addition, 250 stakeholder individuals were consulted, 331 online surveys were completed and 38 written submissions were received.

Following state-wide community engagement, the Treaty Working Group provided a report for the Eminent Panel to consider on next steps for a treaty process. The Eminent Panel provided advice and recommendations to the Queensland Government in February 2020.

The Queensland Government accepted, or accepted in principle, the recommendations of the Eminent Panel and released a Statement of Commitment and response to recommendations of the Eminent Panel.

The government response included a commitment to establish a Treaty Advancement Committee to provide advice to the Queensland Government on options to implement the Eminent Panel recommendations.

Treaty Advancement Committee

Phase Two began in February 2021 with the establishment of the Treaty Advancement Committee. The Treaty Advancement Committee’s role was to build on the work that was done by the Eminent Panel and the Treaty Working Group and provide advice to Government on the next steps.

The Treaty Advancement Committee consisted of Dr Jackie Huggins (Co-Chair), Mr Mick Gooda (Co-Chair), Emeritus Professor Michael Lavarch AO, Dr Josephine Bourne and Dr Sallyanne Atkinson AO.

During Phase Two, the Treaty Advancement Committee held community briefings to ‘report back’ to First Nations communities and non-Indigenous Queenslanders on the outcome of Phase One of the treaty process. 

Community briefings included a State-wide webinar available to all Queenslanders held on 10 September 2021.

Although travelling to some locations was impacted by COVID-19 restrictions, the Treaty Advancement Committee was able to hold face to face community briefings in Cairns, Charleville, Cunnamulla, Townsville, Rockhampton, Mt Isa and Brisbane.

With the formal hand over of their report on 12 October 2021, the Treaty Advancement Committee’s tenure has come to an end. The Treaty Advancement Committee Report will shape the implementation design for the treaty-making process with First Nations people in Queensland.

The Queensland Government will carefully consider the Treaty Advancement Committee Report and provide a response to the recommendations.

To stay informed on the treaty process, subscribe to receive the Treaty Update.

Community feedback

There was significant support for a treaty across the state. Three major themes from community were:

  • Inclusion
    This is a conversation for all Queenslanders, Indigenous and non-Indigenous.
  • Reconciliation
    Truth-telling and healing are an important part of this process.
  • Capability
    We need to invest in the capability of people to be treaty-ready.

To stay informed on the treaty process, subscribe to receive the Treaty Update.


Key documents