National reconciliation week: Let's take the next steps
This National Reconciliation Week, Victorian councils will be celebrating the remarkable legacies of Indigenous Victorians with their local Traditional Owners and Aboriginal communities.
This year marks important milestones of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the 25th anniversary of the High Court Mabo native title decision.
MAV President Cr Mary Lalios said this year’s Reconciliation Week theme of ‘Let’s Take the Next Steps’ was particularly relevant to local government, with the MAV Board recently adopting the following statement:
As the peak representative body of the tier of government closest to the community, the MAV supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people being recognised as Australia’s First Peoples, their role as custodians of the land on which we live today and their ongoing contribution as the longest living continuing culture in the world.
We support communities having discussions about a treaty if this is desired by the Victorian Aboriginal community, and we welcome the Victorian Government providing support to enable it to consider options for a Victorian Aboriginal representative body.
“We should be proud of the rich languages, cultures and traditions of indigenous Australians, who have lived here for some 60,000 years and represent the world’s oldest continuous cultural heritage,” Cr Lalios said.
“The MAV believes it’s time to take the next steps towards greater formal recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Big changes require persistence and courage.
“We are pleased the State Government has provided $28.5 million in the 2017/18 Budget for the development of a Victorian representative body, as well as a self-determination plan.”
Cr Lalios said National Reconciliation Week also offered an opportunity to focus on the role of councils in unifying communities – past, present and future.
“We believe councils can encourage greater unity, knowledge and respect for the first occupants of our land through their strong community links and local representation.
“To help achieve this, we are working productively with Aboriginal community leaders and are pleased to be an active partner in the Victorian Aboriginal Local Government Action Plan.”
National Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May until 3 June.
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For further information, contact Cr Mary Lalios on 0447 189 409 or MAV Communications on 9667 5547.