The Territory’s First-Ever Treaty Commissioner Appointed

Chief Minister Michael Gunner has today announced Katherine-born Yawuru man and former Australian of the Year Professor Mick Dodson as the Territorys first-ever Treaty Commissioner.

Professor Dodson is a highly respected Aboriginal Advocate who has spent his working life fighting for the rights and interests Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The Treaty Commissioner is an important part of the Treaty process and follows the signing of the historic Barunga Agreement, between the NT Government and the NTs four land councils in June 2018, which paved the way for consultations to begin with Aboriginal people about a Treaty.

All four NT Land Councils and the Minister for Aboriginal affairs supported Professor Dodsons appointment.

Professor Dodson will commence on Monday 4 March 2019 and under the Commissioners Terms of Reference will deliver an interim report and public Discussion Paper within 12 months, with a final report to be delivered no more than 18 months after the delivery of the Discussion Paper.

Expressions of Interest for the appointment of a part-time female Aboriginal Deputy Commissioner to assist the Commissioner open Monday 18 February and close Sunday 17 March.

Professor Dodson is available for interviews. Bio attached.

As noted by Chief Minister Michael Gunner

The Territory Labor Government will deliver a Treaty for the Northern Territory.

Professor Dodson is one of Australias most highly regarded advocates and his contribution to this process will be invaluable.

Along with Local Decision Making Agreements nine of which have now been signed across the Territory Treaty is an important part of the journey towards empowerment for Aboriginal people.

I welcome Professor Dodson to this critical appointment and look forward to working with him on the delivery of Treaty.”

As noted by Professor Mick Dodson, Treaty Commissioner

I want to congratulate the NT Government for initiating this very important Treaty process.

“Anyone who has listened to me talk publically, knows that I am concerned with what I call the unfinished business. A Treaty is a good place to start with addressing this unfinished business.

“We as a nation must come face to face with our dark and traumatic history. We must confront the impact of colonisation and begin the process of acknowledgement, recognition and healing. The NT has embarked on dealing with this task by this courageous step of setting up this Commission.

I was born in the NT and lived and worked here for over half my life so I feel well equipped for this role. I know its a tough challenge however I am looking forward to talking to Northern Territorians and sharing their views on where we go to from here.”


The Treaty Commissioner will determine:

  • What a Northern Territory Treaty will seek to achieve
  • Whether there should be one or multiple treaties
  • The best model for a Treaty in the Northern Territory
  • What outcomes are possible under a Treaty for Aboriginal people
  • What the best process is for negotiating a Treaty
  • The potential contents of any Treaty in the Northern Territory.

The Treaty Commissioner will be responsible for:

  • Consultation with Aboriginal people on their support for a Treaty
  • Consultation with Aboriginal representative bodies and community groups
  • Developing a suitable framework to further Treaty negotiations with the Northern Territory Government.
  • Recommend the best of Aboriginal representation in any future Treaty negotiations.
  • Ensure non-Aboriginal Territorians are informed of the process.

/Public Release.View in full here.