We have two interconnected volunteer groups who both meet regularly – the Sovereign Body of First Nations people who make the decisions about how rent is distributed, and an Administrative Arm of allies undertaking the logistical and administrative work.
The Sovereign Body are a small group of 8 First Nations representatives, collectively ensuring decisions are made transparently and centered around the needs of First Nations people centric. We are chosen for our shared experience and expertise across the following areas:
Lived experience from first hand impact of Deaths in Custody and the shortfalls of the justice system
Traditional Owner and knowledge holder from the Wurundjeri Lands and Educational professional
Traditional Owner Wurundjeri Land and trauma trained consultant.
Grassroots activist leading some of the countries largest political campaigns
Academic with a specialisation in Global Urban and Social studies
GMAR, with a lived history of supporting Aboriginal Families and experience in the health Sector
Advocate against family violence, justice Warrior, Author and respected Aunty
Project management in large organisations, with sound community engagement experience.
The Sovereign Body is currently working through how to honour the legacy of the Elders and their role in the movement; how money allocations can be fair and transparent to First Nation communities.
The Administrative Arm is responsible for setting up systems to respond to the wonderful influx of people who are engaging and contributing rent. They are working on a more user-friendly website; responding to all the inquiries from conscientious people interested in Paying the Rent; and establishing systems that can help us grow at scale – for individuals, organisations and businesses. Our Admin Arm members include: Jessica Morrison, Anica Niepraschk, Clare Land, Elizabeth Wheeler, AC Hunter, Oliver Hornung, Rhys Cranney, and Tess Malcolm.
This website serves a Pay The Rent scheme being organised by First Nations and non-First Nations people working together, who together are called the Pay The Rent Grassroots Collective. This collective is based in what is now known as Victoria, and expects to largely disperse rent collected in this area. If you live outside Victoria, sign up to emails and we’ll send you updates and information about other groups where possible.
We pay our respects to those that developed and promoted the Pay The Rent concept – including Bruce McGuinness, Bejam Kunmunara Jarlow Nunukel Kabool and the National Aboriginal and Islander Health Organisation (NAIHO) – and pay special acknowledgement to Robbie Thorpe, who has been the custodian of the concept since the 1980s.
After extensive conversations and consultations, the Pay The Rent Grassroots Collective has been established under the ‘Sovereign Body, Corporate Arm’ model developed by Robbie Thorpe.
Pay the Rent is currently a non-incorporated group and is working towards formalising a legal structure.
We have benefited enormously from the input of Aboriginal Elders, scholars and activists, as well as sharing ideas with groups in other places such as Balaangala (Qld) and finding out about historical initiatives, such as the Fitzroy Pay the Rent group.
Key principles of the Pay the Rent :
– Aboriginal people should have control of any Rent received; there is no need for Aboriginal people to report back to non-Aboriginal people – it is for Aboriginal people to do with as they wish.
– Paying the Rent is about non-Indigenous people honouring the Sovereignty of Aboriginal people; it is a somewhat more just way of living on this stolen land.
– Paying the Rent is about restitution. It is not charity, fundraising or a donation.
– This model for Paying the Rent transfers money/wealth from grassroots to grassroots; it doesn’t involve governments or big business.
– It is not enough for non-Indigenous people to only Pay the Rent. Treaty, advocacy, and solidarity with actions to promote, defend and support land justice are also necessary.
We see this group as a grassroots-to-grassroots initiative; it enables funds to be contributed by individuals directly to grassroots causes and campaigns with a focus on protecting First Nations rights, and practical support such as a Funeral Fund.
We acknowledge we live, play and campaign on First Nations' country and sovereignty has never been ceded. Always was, always will be Aboriginal Land.