Councils across the State are holding a range of cultural and community activities to mark National Reconciliation Week, and to celebrate the rich contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to NSW.
National Reconciliation Week 2017, which runs from 27 May to 3 June 2017, also marks two significant milestones: the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum to include Aboriginal peoples in the census and allow the Commonwealth to create laws for them, and the 25th anniversary of the High Court Mabo native title decision.
The 2017 theme is “Let’s take The Next Steps”.
Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said the body supported initiatives to bring about reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the wider community and would continue to support Australian Constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
“LGNSW respects and acknowledges the unique culture, societies, history and traditional lands of Aboriginal Australians in NSW,” he said.
“Our members are working to provide infrastructure and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and appropriate funding for Aboriginal programs.”
Clr Rhoades said council-led activities celebrating National Reconciliation Week included:
- The City of Sydney’s lighting display on the Town Hall, featuring the red and yellow colours of the Aboriginal Flag
- Bush tucker morning teas, a Public Art Water Trail Walk and the moonlight screening of Mabo: Life of an Island Man by Port Macquarie-Hastings Council
- A flag-raising smoking ceremony and community BBQ by Liverpool Plains Shire Council
- The Pauline McLeod Awards for the community’s ‘silent achievers’ coordinated by Woollahra Council, Waverley Council, Inner West Council, Randwick City Council, Bayside Council and the City of Sydney
- Anniversary celebrations held by Lismore City council, Richmond Valley Council and Kyogle Shire Council
- Art displays by Moree Plains Shire Council and a flag-raising ceremony by Yass Valley Council
- A flag walk by students from 25 schools in the Shellharbour City Council area.
“These are just a few examples; celebrations marking this special week and historic anniversaries in some way are taking place right across NSW,” he said.
“We believe local councils can encourage greater unity, knowledge and respect for the first occupants of our land through their strong community links and local representation.
“I’d encourage all members of the community to contact their local council and get involved with these very special celebrations.”