Indige­nous recog­ni­tion

Stirling Times - - Front Page - Laura Pond

AF­TER 30 years of cam­paign­ing, Abo­rig­i­nal El­der Tri­cia Flynn-Scrut­ton is proud Indige­nous peo­ple are be­ing recog­nised by the City of Stir­ling.

Fol­low­ing re­cent coun­cil de­ci­sions, the Abo­rig­i­nal flag will fly out­side the City’s ad­min­is­tra­tion build­ing daily and coun­cil­lors will re­cite an Ac­knowl­edge­ment of Coun­try along with the prayer be­fore each meet­ing. The Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der flag will fly dur­ing Naidoc and Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion weeks.

Ms Flynn-Scrut­ton said it had been a “30-year ar­gu­ment to get things hap­pen­ing” but had been well re­ceived by the cur­rent coun­cil.

“It just feels so good that peo­ple are go­ing to come to the City of Stir­ling and see things like that,” she said.

“They’re go­ing to think, ‘this is a coun­cil that cares about its Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple’.”

The de­ci­sion to fly the Abo­rig­i­nal flag formed part of the City’s Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Ac­tion Plan (RAP) 20182020, which was en­dorsed at last week’s coun­cil meet­ing and fol­lows the orig­i­nal plan adopted in 2014.

For­mer coun­cil­lor Samantha Jenk­in­son asked the coun­cil to re­place the meet­ing open­ing prayer with an af­fir­ma­tion and Ac­knowl­edg­ment of Coun­try via a no­tice of mo­tion last Septem­ber.

A sub­se­quent re­port by the City said of­fi­cers were con­cerned about “pos­si­ble detri­men­tal ef­fects on rec­on­cil­i­a­tion” by re­plac­ing the prayer, which has been re­cited since 2005. The coun­cil ap­proved a rec­om­men­da­tion to re­cite both.

TRI­CIA Flynn-Scrut­ton was 14 when the 1967 ref­er­en­dum en­abled Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple to be counted in the Aus­tralian pop­u­la­tion.

“For so long Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple have not been recog­nised,” she said.

The Bal­catta res­i­dent praised cur­rent Stir­ling coun­cil­lors for be­ing “more open-minded” and was proud of the “very in­clu­sive” na­ture of the City.

“It makes peo­ple more aware that Abo­rig­i­nal peo­ple are here, we’re not leav­ing and we’re stand­ing up for our­selves,” she said.

“It’s such a sense of pride we have now.”

Stir­ling Mayor Mark Ir­win said the City’s Rec­on­cil­i­a­tion Ac­tion Plan and re­cent de­ci­sions were a sig­nif­i­cant step towards build­ing stronger re­la­tion­ships with Abo­rig­i­nal and Tor­res Strait Is­lan­der peo­ple.

Com­mu­nity de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor Trevor Hol­land said the City and coun­cil worked closely with the RAP work­ing group, Abo­rig­i­nal El­ders and com­mu­nity mem­bers from across the City to de­velop the plan.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie

Fly­ing the flag... Denise Yar­ran, Tri­cia Flynn-Scrut­ton, Pamela Yar­ren, Stir­ling Mayor Mark Ir­win, Oriel Green and Ian Clinch. www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d486600

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