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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Barunga West Council retains acknowledgement of the country

Nharranga Aboriginal Progress Association has expressed satisfaction with the decision made by Barunga West Council elected members to maintain the Acknowledgement of Country. Despite a motion proposed by Cr David Eason to remove the Acknowledgement from all council meetings and events, a majority of five to three councillors voted against it.

Last February, the council collaborated with NAPA to establish the Nharangga Wambana Ngarga (knowledge group) to provide cultural guidance on council projects, including the Nharangga artwork at the upgraded Port Broughton Civic Square. NAPA chairperson Michael Wanganeen emphasized the importance of retaining the Acknowledgement as a gesture of respect and recognition of Nharangga country.

Cr Eason, an immigrant from the United Kingdom, presented a comprehensive report supporting his motion, expressing concerns about the wording of the Acknowledgement implying subservience to the Aboriginal population. However, he acknowledged the hardships faced by Aboriginal people throughout history and emphasized the need for building a multi-racial democracy that respects the rights, heritage, and beliefs of all Australians.

In response, Cr Kim Gregory, who also holds positions in Aboriginal organizations, highlighted the consultation with NAPA and taxpayers, all of whom opposed the motion. She emphasized that the Acknowledgement is not used for political correctness but as a genuine gesture of respect, and its removal could damage council’s relationships with Nharangga people.

BWC chief executive Maree Wauchope echoed the sentiment, welcoming the decision and reaffirming the council’s commitment to working alongside the Nharangga people and the community to foster inclusivity and harmony.

Overall, the decision to retain the Acknowledgement of Country reflects a commitment to reconciliation and respect for Indigenous culture and heritage.

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