Mayor Kerry Hayes and Stevie Ross at the 2020 NAIDOC flag-raising ceremony in Emerald.
Mayor Kerry Hayes and Stevie Ross at the 2020 NAIDOC flag-raising ceremony in Emerald.

Reconciliation plan launched as part of NAIDOC celebrations

CENTRAL Highlands Regional Council is encouraging locals to get involved in online NAIDOC Week activities, with local events cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.

To start this year’s celebrations, CHRC launched its 2020-2021 Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan.

The plan was developed over the past 12 months and endorsed by Reconciliation Australia in August this year.

Mayor Kerry Hayes said NAIDOC Week was a great time to celebrate reaching the milestone and officially mark the start of council’s reconciliation journey.

“The Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan is part of the council’s work to develop strong, vibrant communities that preserve and promote the heritage and cultures of the region,” he said.

“This plan aims to support, protect and grow the contributions, history and traditions of our region’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and ensure inclusiveness for all.”

This year’s NAIDOC Week theme ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’ recognises First Nations people have occupied and cared for the country for more than 65,000 years.

“Australia’s First Peoples engraved the world’s first maps, made the earliest paintings of ceremony and invented unique technologies,” Cr Hayes said.

“They built and engineered structures predating the Egyptian Pyramids and Stonehenge and have the world’s oldest oral stories.

“We might not be able to come together like we usually do to mark this significant week, but that doesn’t mean we can’t all take the time to reflect on this important part of our shared history.”

Due to health advice and social distancing rules, a small invite-only flag-raising ceremony was held in Emerald on Monday.

Locals can still get involved with a number of online events on offer through the NAIDOC Week website.


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