New policy to acknowledge Aboriginal people

Headshot of Nicolette Barbas
Nicolette BarbasHarvey-Waroona Reporter

Harvey Shire Council will introduce a Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country Policy following a decision made at last week’s council meeting.

The council’s decision to commit to the policy was timely, being made one week prior to the shire’s Naidoc Week celebrations, which kick off on Thursday.

The policy, which was identified in the council’s Reconciliation Action Plan in April, aims to provide direction and support to councillors and shire staff.

The policy also identifies the types of events where a Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country should be included in official proceedings.

By implementing the action plan, the council hopes to achieve genuine reconciliation within the community by ensuring the appropriate protocols for recognition are observed through the formal Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country ceremonies.

While Cr Bill Adams was supportive of the policy, he raised concerns around whether it was paying lip service rather than providing substantial reconciliation.

Harvey shire chief executive officer Annie Riordan said it was important the council endorsed and implemented the plan.

“This policy will strengthen council’s vision to achieve genuine reconciliation in the community through strong relationships, recognition of traditional landowners and celebration of our rich cultural diversity and history,” Ms Riordan said.

“We need to ensure the appropriate protocols for the recognition of Noongar people as traditional owners and custodians of country are observed and this policy will aim to ensure that happens.”

Ms Riordan also proposed that the Aboriginal flag permanently fly at the shire administration offices in Harvey and Australind beyond this year’s Naidoc Week celebrations.

See page 2 for more Naidoc Week events.

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