Strathbogie council backs Uluru Statement

By Benalla Ensign

The Violet Town and District Recognise Group has been supported by Strathbogie Shire Council to promote and support the Uluru Statement from the Heart movement and the process for Aboriginal recognition in the Constitution.

Cr Kate Stothers, who played an instrumental role in pushing for the council to support the group’s initiatives, said the council had a role to play in advocating on behalf of its community on issues that were important to them.

‘‘The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a powerful piece of work outlining the dispossession and disparity experienced by our First Nations People, but encouragingly, and generously, opens the door for all of us to walk with them on a journey forward,’’ Cr Stothers said.

‘‘It was gathered through a large collaborative process of Aboriginal people who came together at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention, so this statement was the consensus-building outcome from a wide range of communities across Australia.’’

The council endorsed six recommendations at its recent meeting that supported the sentiments contained in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the process for Aboriginal recognition and reform of the Constitution and a referendum to enshrine a First Nations Voice to Federal Parliament.

The council also resolved to advocate on behalf of its community to promote the need for these processes to provide the Aboriginal community the opportunity to be heard and have discussions about what recognition means for them.

Taungurung Land and Water Council chief executive Matthew Burns said he welcomed the decision to support sentiments in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

‘‘This decision shows great leadership which we hope will pave the way for other local municipalities to follow Strathbogie’s lead,’’ Mr Burns said.

‘‘We are proud to have such a forward-thinking local municipality within Taungurung Country.’’

A council spokesperson said it would put forward a recommendation to the Municipal Association of Victoria state council in May to bring the importance of the Uluru Statement of the Heart to the attention of the statewide local government sector.

— Tara Whitsed