National Reconciliation Week to mark two major milestones

Published on 29 May 2017

National Reconciliation Week (NRW) will take on even more significance this week as it marks two major milestones in Australia’s ongoing journey towards reconciliation.

Running from 27 May until Saturday, 3 June, NRW is an annual initiative that builds on the respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and other Australians.

This year’s event, under the theme of ‘Let’s Take the Next Steps’, coincides with the anniversaries of two pivotal moments in the reconciliatory journey – the 1967 referendum (27 May) and the historic Mabo decision in 1992 (3 June) – which will bookend this week’s activities.

NRW 2017 also falls at an important time for Mildura Rural City Council this year as it coincides with our second draft Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which is now out for public comment.

Council’s RAP sets out the organisation’s commitment to developing relationships with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents through mutual respect, inclusiveness, equity and cultural awareness.

The 1967 referendum, Australia’s most successful, saw more than 90 per cent of Australians vote to give the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and recognise them in the national census.

The High Court of Australia’s Mabo decision meanwhile legally recognised that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have a special relationship to the land, a relationship that existed before colonisation and still exists today. It was a decision that paved the way for Native Title.

Council and the Aboriginal Action Committee (AAC) will host a community barbecue to mark this year’s NRW, which will be held in the Langtree Mall this Thursday, 1 June at midday.

Councillor for Community Wellbeing and Services Ali Cupper encouraged Sunraysia residents to help acknowledge NRW and its two significant anniversaries.

&ldquo This is a very special week, not just for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, but for our broader community, as it’s about continuing to build relationships,” Cr Cupper said.

“What better way to recognised and illustrate this than by joining together and taking part in this community event.”

As part of this Thursday’s community barbecue, Council and the AAC will exchange gifts in the spirit of reconciliation and to symbolise the ongoing commitment to working together.

It will also include a public screening of a new video developed by Council and the AAC, sharing what reconciliation means to local residents. The video has also been shared through social media and online.

For more information about the event contact Council’s Social Inclusion Officer on (03) 5018 1800.

Residents also still have time to view and comment on Council’s draft Reconciliation Action Plan which is available online from the Have Your Say section of Council’s website or at any of Council’s Service Centres or libraries.