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Resetting the Relationship with Tasmanian Aboriginal Communities

In his Australia Day address in January 2016, Premier Will Hodgman identified three themes that underpin the Government’s approach to resetting the relationship with  Aboriginal communities in Tasmania.

  • Recognition
    • The Tasmanian Government acknowledges Tasmanian Aboriginal communities as the traditional owners of lutruwita/Tasmania and values the importance of Aboriginal history and culture.
  • Reconciliation
    • The Tasmanian Government recognises Tasmanian Aboriginal people’s deep and continuous historical connection to the land and sea of Tasmania.
  • Real Outcomes
    • The Tasmanian Government will continue to work to improve the disparity in outcomes experienced by  Tasmanian Aboriginal communities in all areas, including education, health and employment.

Reset Priorities

The Reset agenda identifies five key priority areas which are informed by the themes of recognition, reconciliation and real outcomes.

Priority 1: A new approach to Aboriginal eligibility

This new approach aligns the Tasmanian Government with the Australian Government, and implements new arrangements that are more inclusive.

Priority 2: Focus on Tasmanian Aboriginal history and culture in the delivery of the Australian curriculum

In partnership with Aboriginal communities, enhanced resources and training will be developed to support teachers to deliver the history and cultures component of the Australian curriculum with a focus on Tasmanian Aboriginal people.

Priority 3: Constitutional recognition of Tasmanian Aboriginal people

Legislation to amend the Constitution Act passed through the State Parliament on 26 October 2016 and received Royal Assent on 15 December 2016. The amended Preamble reads:

“And whereas the Parliament, on behalf of all the people of Tasmania, acknowledges the Aboriginal people as Tasmania’s First People and the traditional and original owners of Tasmanian lands and waters; recognises the enduring spiritual, social, cultural and economic importance of traditional lands and waters to Tasmanian Aboriginal people; and recognises the unique and lasting contributions that Tasmanian Aboriginal people have made and continue to make to Tasmania.”

Priority 4: Explore joint land management arrangements and review the current land return model

Activity around exploring joint land management arrangements will include new and contemporary ways for Aboriginal people to connect to country, while building economic opportunities, particularly in the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Priority 5: Increased efforts to close the gap in disadvantage between Aboriginal Tasmanians and the wider community

The Tasmanian Government is continuing to invest in activity that supports the COAG agenda to close the gap in Aboriginal disadvantage, with a particular focus on family violence, the early years, economic development and employment.


Implementation of the Reset agenda is led by a Steering Committee, comprising Heads of Agencies and chaired by the Secretary, Department of Communities Tasmania. The Steering Committee is supported by the Reset Interdepartmental Committee, comprising senior departmental officials, and by inter-agency Reset Working Groups.

Community Engagement

The key stakeholders in the Reset are  Aboriginal communities, Aboriginal community organisations and Tasmanian Government agencies.  In 2015 the Premier undertook extensive consultations with Aboriginal people and organisations around the State, to identify opportunities and to hear issues of concern. Engagement on actions under the Reset agenda continues to be a significant element of the work of the Office of Aboriginal Affairs.

Links to other Tasmanian Government Initiatives

Some Reset agenda action items are linked to other important Tasmanian Government initiatives, including:

Reset Key Activities