Mick Dodson Appointed Northern Territory’s First-Ever Treaty Commissioner

Mick Dodson Appointed Northern Territory’s First-Ever Treaty Commissioner

Northern Territory Chief Minister Michael Gunner

Northern Territory’s First-Ever Treaty Commissioner Appointed

Victor P Taffa

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

“Territory Government will deliver a Treaty for the Northern Territory.” Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.

“Professor Dodson is one of Australia’s most highly regarded advocates and his contribution to this process will be invaluable.”

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.

Treaty Commissioner is an important part of the Treaty process and follows the signing of the historic Barunga Agreement, between the Northern Territory Government and the Northern Territory’s 4 land councils in June 2018, which paved the way for consultations to begin with Aboriginal people about a Treaty.

All 4 Northern Territory 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.

“I want to congratulate the Northern Territory Government for initiating this very important Treaty process.” Treaty Commissioner Professor Mick Dodson said.

“I was born in the Northern Territory 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.”

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.


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.

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.