Local government and reconciliation – President’s comment

Article image - Local government and reconciliation – President’s comment Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA) President, Mayor Lambros Tapinos

As a peak body for the Victorian local government sector, the VLGA is known for its governance focused work, masterclasses, training and support for councillors and for members of the community seeking to stand as candidates in local government elections.

The organisation also partners with Reconciliation Victoria for the much-loved HART Awards that celebrate and honour local councils and community groups across Victoria, which are Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together throughout the year.

We are constantly inspired by the variety and strength of nominations that occur each year and encouraged by the number of local governments progressing the important work of reconciliation in schools and early years centres, reflecting a significant transformation in the teaching of Australian history.

Nominations range from exhibitions and tributes to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, to festivals and other projects focussing on identifying and addressing organisational white privilege.

Reconciliation is not a static or generic term but an approach that can be interpreted and utilised in a myriad of ways; its strength comes from the people involved and the commitment to deepen relationships based on mutual understanding, respect and Aboriginal self-determination.

Each year, the stories of the finalists demonstrate that when Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and organisations commit to meaningful, long-term, two-way relationships, tremendous change can be achieved.

In sharing these stories, we are shining a light on the local initiatives and champions who make a real difference in their communities, so that others might take ideas and inspiration forward into their own workplaces and communities. We thank councils and the community for the important work they are doing and for their ongoing support of Treaty.

The HART Awards take place during Reconciliation Week and is an action item of the Victorian Aboriginal and Local Government Action Plan 2016 (VALGAP), developed by Local Government Victoria.

The VALGAP is a resource for councils to develop and strengthen best practice in engagement, partnership and employment opportunities with their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.