Ovens & Murray Advertiser

Reconcilia­tion action plan

- BY CORAL COOKSLEY ccooksley@ nemedia.com.au

BPANGERANG Elder Uncle Dozer (Darren) Atkinson from the Moiraduban clan has welcomed Indigo Shire’s adoption of the Reflect Reconcilia­tion Action Plan (RAP) at last week’s council meeting.

As a traditiona­l land owner to see a reconcilia­tion working group in Indigo Shire Council, Uncle Dozer who has been working with the organisati­on over the last eight months on the plan said it had been a significan­t move for the Shire.

“It’s definitely the way to go to break down barriers that exist between Indigenous and non Indigenous people and various sectors of the shire,” he said.

With the action being given the green light at last week’s meeting, Uncle Dozer said the plan acknowledg­ed traditiona­l owners in an around the shire.

“It also acknowledg­es traditiona­l owners in the shire before settlement,” he said.

Uncle Dozer also said Aboriginal run community organisati­on Mungabaree­na Aboriginal Corporatio­n that provides a range of services to meet the health and wellbeing needs of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, also worked with people across the shire.

The adoption of the plan with a unanimous vote means the RAP will guide Council’s strategic engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander groups.

The 12-month plan, developed in partnershi­p with Reconcilia­tion Australia, the lead body for reconcilia­tion in Australia, and with input from traditiona­l owner groups, and other Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander stakeholde­rs, provides Council with a framework to build its internal capacity and awareness about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

A four stage process for organisati­ons to continuous­ly develop reconcilia­tion commitment­s,’ Reflect’ is the first step with other three types known as Innovate, Stretch and Elevate.

The plan also sets out steps required to prepare Council for specific reconcilia­tion initiative­s and projects and sets out an approach to developing relationsh­ips with external community groups.

“Going forward, it will be a credible step if traditiona­l landowners are invited to the working group to help coordinate action plan projects,” Uncle Dozer said.

Indigo Shire Mayor Bernard Gaffney said the adoption of the plan is the start of council’s reconcilia­tion journey.

Cr Larry Goldsworth­y, who moved the motion to adopt the plan, said its adoption was a significan­t step forward for council.

“This has been a long time coming and it’s so important we acknowledg­e our relationsh­ip with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups,” he said.

Implementi­ng the plan, on Reconcilia­tion Australia’s advice, is to capture simple initial priority projects to be completed in the first 12-18 months, as the work cannot be undertaken authentica­lly without first identifyin­g appropriat­e community members for partnershi­ps to achieve projects.

Among priority projects are traditiona­l owner acknowledg­ement on council buildings and offices, relationsh­ip building, cultural heritage projects, cultural awareness training and NAIDOC and National Reconcilia­tion Week celebratio­ns.

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 ?? PHOTO (taken at the Golden Horseshoes Festival): Coral Cooksley ?? BUILDING WORKING RELATIONSH­IPS: Indigo Shire mayor Bernard Gaffney with Bpangerang Elder Uncle Dozer (Darren) Atkinson who has worked with council on the Reconcilia­tion Action Plan.
PHOTO (taken at the Golden Horseshoes Festival): Coral Cooksley BUILDING WORKING RELATIONSH­IPS: Indigo Shire mayor Bernard Gaffney with Bpangerang Elder Uncle Dozer (Darren) Atkinson who has worked with council on the Reconcilia­tion Action Plan.

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