Moondani Balluk strategies & statements

Victoria University is committed to promoting the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in education, research, knowledge exchange, and employment.

Moondani Balluk statement on Black Lives Matter

5 June 2020

While the spaces of violence on Aboriginal land, culture and people continues to impact our bodies and spirits in our everyday lives and through our work, the thoughts of Moondani Balluk staff are with the families and extended families of the over 400 Aboriginal people who have died in custody. Since the release of the 1991 Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody, a report that contained 339 recommendations on concrete ways to halt any more deaths, the impossibility of systemic change in racist acts on Aboriginal people is draining hope and aspiration for many in our communities. Our thoughts are with these families as our screens are flooded with events in the USA, and we know deeply that the grief and trauma of losing a family member in custody is unbearable.

Staff at Moondani Balluk understand that we will continue our work in the University’s digital classrooms to share our Aboriginal standpoints and perspectives through our Aboriginal teaching content. Our academic staff are often confronted by VU’s enrolled students who have not experienced Aboriginal history through our schools systems. The challenges of this are expressed by students as feelings of shame, guilt, or ignorance and these have been heightened by the current global events. This work, coupled with our own lived experiences of systemic racism, our family connections to those who have died in custody, become even more burdensome when laden with such confrontations and challenges. We understand full well the impact of our knowledge on our students, on our colleagues, but we also carry the load and our cultural safety is always at risk. We need staff and students at VU to understand this load.

The University seeks to work collaboratively with us through such strategies as Bathelmun Yalingwa, the Yannoneit Employment Strategy and related policies. Changes in recent times in University structures have seen a lifting of Aboriginal matters to senior executive level, and this is a welcome outcome and one that will bring change; over time. Our internal relationships are hard fought and require vigilance, gratitude and patience; they are however fragile, just like the fragility of the social contract between white and black – here in Australia and overseas.

The sheer negligence of acts of violence in societal structures and historical oppression against black bodies, our land and culture is a direct result of systemic racism and white fragility. It is not just for Moondani Balluk staff to teach, share our stories, stand tall, and make change and protest. This is a space for our University colleagues to show up, be counted, to educate themselves and to take action themselves against systemic racism and speak back against acts of violence on black bodies.

Please let us all know and remember the Aboriginal people who have died in custody, at the hands of Australian police. Please join in solidarity to decolonise our practices and systems so that our Aboriginal families, children and youth can feel safe in engaging in white spaces. Please show respect to our Country, our Culture, and understand the ongoing impact of dispossession and dispersal on our bodies and spirits.

Indigenous strategy

The Victoria University Bathelmun Yalingwa Strategy 2017-2020 (PDF, 5.43 MB)outlines the commitment of the University to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders’ opportunity and success, particularly in our heartland, the west of Melbourne.

This commitment not only encompasses the success of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff but also the role we play as a regional leader in raising awareness and addressing challenges.

Indigenous Student Success Programme (ISSP)

The ISSP is an annual report submitted to the Commonwealth Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.

It reflects VU's performance against enrolments, progression and completions and our key strategies to meet these outcomes.

Indigenous careers strategy

VU is committed to the increase of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people employed at VU. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who are interested in career opportunities are encouraged to register with VU to receive job alerts, opportunities and upcoming community training events. Please contact our Indigenous Employment and Community Liaison Officer for further information or assistance.

The strategy encourages the recruitment and career development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It provides opportunities to gain professional qualifications, work skills and experience in a wide range of jobs at VU.