Councils throughout NSW are holding cultural and community activities to celebrate National Reconciliation Week and build on the respectful relationships shared by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.
National Reconciliation Week 2019 (27 May to 3 June) commemorates two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey – the 1967 referendum to include Aboriginal peoples in the census and the anniversary of the High Court Mabo native title decision.
2019’s theme is Grounded in Truth – Walk Together with Courage.
“Local Government NSW (LGNSW) supports initiatives to bring about reconciliation and encourages the inclusion of Aboriginal communities in council decision-making, service development and delivery,” LGNSW President Cr Linda Scott said.
“Our sector has long supported constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians and passed a number of resolutions supporting reconciliation during the 2018 LGNSW Annual Conference including:
- acknowledging the significance of the Uluru Statement from the Heart as an important piece of political writing and gathering of our First Nations’ Peoples
- advocating that the NSW Government amend the Local Government Act 1993 to include provisions for targeted programs to increase the employment opportunities for people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds
- calling upon the NSW Government to support a protocol for the permanent flying of the Indigenous flag, alongside the Australian flag and the NSW state flag, from Sydney Harbour Bridge.
“We are also updating, in consultation with members, our position statement on Aboriginal constitutional recognition.”
Council-led activities to celebrate National Reconciliation Week include:
- Randwick City Council’s annual Koojay Corrobboree, involving workshops, storytelling, dance and performances on the sands of Coogee Beach, Friday 24 May 2019.
- Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council’s annual Reconciliation Walk, Tuesday 28 May 2019, 10.15am-noon, starting from Ray Morton Park.
- The Gai-marigal Festival, from 26 May 2019 to 14 July 2019, featuring councils and community groups in the Northern Sydney region. Events include workshops, art exhibitions, performances, films and talks.
- City of Parramatta will host a number of community events over coming months as part of a unique Indigenous event program called Warami, a Darug word for “good to see you”. The program includes National Sorry Day and Reconciliation Week activities.
- Sutherland Shire Council will host “An intimate Yarning Circle on Aboriginal Culture by Aunt Deanna Schreiber” at Peace Park, on Tuesday 28 May 2019 from 12.30pm to promote harmony and cultural knowledge sharing.
- Fairfield City Council will hold a flag-raising ceremony at its administration building on Tuesday 28 May 2019 at 10am with members of the public invited to place a sea of hands around the flag poles. This will be followed by a morning tea.
- Kyogle Council, in association with the Kyogle Reconciliation Committee, will host a Reconciliation March through Kyogle next Friday (31 May 2019) followed by an afternoon of community activities at the local park.
- Cessnock City Council is offering a free screening of Connection to Country on Tuesday 28 May 2019 from 12pm at Cessnock Performing Arts Centre.
“These are just a few of the events being held to mark this special week,” Cr Scott said.
“Local government plays an important role in encouraging greater unity, knowledge and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and I encourage everyone in the community to contact their council and get involved in local celebrations.”