Executive summary

Makarrata’s meaning

At its core, makarrata is a reconciliation process; a matter of settling our differences and moving forward together as one.

Agreement making

Six guiding principles to assist a process of agreement-making.

The place of history

A seven-point plan to guide the process of truth-telling about history.

Recording history

Recording the truth about the past enables the parties to come together and forge a positive, ongoing, relationship.

Preserving culture

Building on, and strengthening, Indigenous peoples’ connections with traditional land and culture is of benefit to all Australians.

Empowering communities

Governments need to enter into agreements with local Indigenous communities that enable communities to increase their capacity to take responsibility for their own welfare.

Creating commercial opportunities

Governments need to make agreements with remote communities to ensure localised access to staff, skills and finance that gives communities the ability to generate income so they can take responsibility for their own affairs.

Three options

Three options are proposed for how makarrata might be achieved with or without a formal commission.

Direct local makarrata

This option would involve the Commonwealth establishing new legal entities for the various Indigenous peoples. Part of this process would involve an agreement about how the new entity works with existing local government agencies to achieve reconciliation within the local community.

Makarrata tribunal

This option would involve an ongoing commission to which Indigenous claims for determination. After receiving a complaint, the commission would facilitate an agreement with the Commonwealth and oversee its implementation.

Royal commissions of makarrata

This option would involve a series of commissions of inquiry, established on a needs-basis, to inquire into the history of a discrete region. This would be followed by direct negotiations between the Commonwealth and local Indigenous peoples, aiming to achieve agreement on appropriate measures towards reconciliation.

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