Commitment to reconciliation
On June 3, during National Reconciliation Week, Mildura Rural City Council publicly committed to reconciliation by launching its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
An initiative of Reconciliation Australia, RAPs enable businesses, organisations and groups to formalise their dedication to bridging the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Councillor Jill Joslyn is one of the members of Mildura Rural City Council’s RAP Working Group.
She said it reflected how far we have come in terms of our understanding and respect of local Indigenous culture.
“Our RAP sets out specifically Council’s commitment to developing relationships with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through mutual respect, inclusiveness, equity and cultural awareness.
“It looks at everything from how we as an organisation can build on and further develop our already strong relationships and how Council can increase the opportunities for Aboriginal people to participate socially and economically in the wider community.
“This is a collaborative plan that takes into account the local cultural, economic and social landscape and looks to find solutions to balance all these aspects and have the best outcomes for the whole community.”
Chair of Council’s Aboriginal Action Committee, Norsiyah Mokak said while the adoption of the RAP is very significant, the next step is to see the actions in the plan become reality.
“We see this as a major step forward in Council’s ongoing commitment towards Reconciliation.
“Now the plans are in place, we’re keen to see these put into practice and to see tangible outcomes for the whole community.”
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories around the Mildura townships and surrounding region date back more than 40,000 years.
The proud Traditional Custodians of the lands in and around Mildura are the Latji Latji people and neighbours the Barkindji people across the river.
According to data from the 2012 census, approximately four percent of residents in the Mildura Local Government Area are of an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent, making the region home to the second largest population of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in regional Victoria.
Local community knowledge indicates that the population is significantly higher than what is captured through census data.