Indigenous groups have applauded the news that Aboriginal leader Mick Dodson is the Northern Territory's first Treaty Commissioner.
The appointment follows the signing of the historic Barunga Agreement last year to to pave the way for consultations to begin on a treaty with Aboriginal people.
Barunga came on the 30th anniversary of former prime minister Bob Hawke's promise of a treaty in 1988, which remains unfulfilled.
"Anyone who has listened to me talk publicly knows that I am concerned with what I call 'the unfinished business'," said Prof Dodson, the Katherine-born former Australian of the Year and member of the Yawuru people from the Kimberley.
"A treaty is a good place to start with addressing this unfinished business."
He will take up his new role in March following a career in law and and academia and the distinction of being the nation's first indigenous law graduate in 1974.
His brother, Pat Dodson, is a federal Labor senator.
Chief Minister Michael Gunner repeated his promise from when he was elected in 2016 that his government would deliver a treaty with Aboriginal people if they desired it.
"Professor Dodson is one of Australia's most highly regarded advocates and his contribution to this process will be invaluable," Mr Gunner said.
"Along with local decision-making agreements, nine of which have now been signed across the territory, a treaty is an important part of the journey towards empowerment for Aboriginal people."
Prof Dodson said Australia must "as a nation 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," he said.
"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."
Prof Dodson will determine what an NT treaty will seek to achieve and the best model.
The NT's four land councils which signed the Barunga deal with the government all supported the appointment.
Central Land Council chief executive Joe Martin said he had no doubt that Prof Dodson's report to the NT government would reflect the informed views of the Territory's Aboriginal peoples on a complex issue.
Northern Land Council acting CEO John Ah Kit said Prof Dodson was the most qualified person for the position.
Prof Dodson will deliver an interim report and public discussion paper within 12 months, with a final report no more than 18 months after that.
Australian Associated Press