The New South Wales government is reviewing its treaty consultation plan following the devastating defeat of The Voice referendum over the weekend.
The consultation had been a key election promise for the NSW Labour government but the process will now be reviewed, The Guardian Australia reports.
Although The Voice had been rejected by voters on the federal level, NSW premier Chris Minns has previously insisted the consultation would be carried out. NSW is the only state or territory not to have already started a treaty process, despite having the biggest Indigenous population.
However, it basically seems that now The Voice referendum has failed, the government doesn’t know what to do next.
“It would not be wise to lock in a strategy four days after a referendum,” a senior Labour figure told The Guardian Australia, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“There are a lot of conversations going on behind the scenes about what comes next. No one has a clue.”
The previous plan, had The Voice referendum passed, was to appoint three commissioners and a secretariat to begin a year-long treaty consultation. That has now been put on hold. Speaking to media yesterday, NSW Aboriginal affairs and treaty minister David Harris said he would “respect and accept” the 60 per cent ‘no’ vote in the state.
“The NSW government took to the March election a commitment to starting a consultation process with Aboriginal peoples about treaty,” he said.
“That consultation process remains our commitment. We don’t have anything new to say about that today. We will have more to say over the weeks ahead.”
Even if the states do manage to get a treaty across the line, there’s only so much that can be done on a state level and a federal treaty would always be the next step. There’s still a long road ahead.