Jill Gallagher named Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner

Ms Gallagher AO, a Gunditjmara woman from Western Victoria who has worked within, led and advocated for the Victorian Aboriginal community all her life, this week was named Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner.

The Victorian Treaty Advancement Commissioner is a newly created role entrusted with taking the lead in preparing to negotiate the first ever treaty between Aboriginal people and an Australian government.

"What's happening in Victoria is history making," Ms Gallagher says of the treaty process.

"It's never happened before, for any government to actually be serious about wanting to talk to Aboriginal people about treaties." 

As commissioner, Ms Gallagher will lead the task of bringing Aboriginal representatives to the negotiating table with government and ensuring everyday Aboriginal voices are heard.

"My role is not to negotiate a treaty or treaties," she says. "My role is to establish a voice, or representative body, that government can negotiate with."

Since 1998 Ms Gallagher has been CEO of the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), now one of Australia’s largest and most effective state Aboriginal peak advocacy organisations. As CEO since 2001, Gallagher has led a major growth in the organisation’s status by working to raise its profile and to position it as the key body in addressing Aboriginal health issues.

In 2010, she was included in the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and in 2013 she was appointed to the Order of Australia in recognition of her strong and effective leadership in Aboriginal health.

Read article about the appointment from The Age

Read more about the Victorian treaty process