Northern Territory Government Newsroom

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 Territory’s 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 NT’s 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 Dodson’s appointment.  

Professor Dodson will commence on Monday 4 March 2019 and under the Commissioner’s 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.

Quotes from Chief Minister Michael Gunner

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

“Professor Dodson is one of Australia’s 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."

Quotes from 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 it’s 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:

The Treaty Commissioner will be responsible for:

Media contact:  Cameron Angus - 0404 021 192


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