Taking the Next Steps: From Mabo to Freo with National Reconciliation Week

It has been a very special 2017 National Reconciliation Week.

This year National Reconciliation Week was book-ended by two significant milestones in Australia’s reconciliation journey. At its start was the 50th anniversary 1967 Referendum and at its end, today, was the 25th anniversary of the historic Mabo Decision.

In the midst of this week was also the discussion of the powerful “Uluru Statement from the Heart” that called for a treaty and the establishment of a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution. As it was poignantly put: “In 1967 we were counted, in 2017 we seek to be heard.”

It felt to me the theme for 2017 National Reconciliation Week “Let’s take the next steps” was both timely and spot on. We have made some really worthwhile steps together but there is plenty more to do along the journey ahead.

And back in Fremantle it felt like further steps in the right direction were been taken.

Early in the week I was on a panel at Herbert Smith Freehills to discuss a debate close to Freo’s heart:  ‘Australia Day – Does changing the date promote reconciliation?’ There were some very some impressive leaders in this area including Ambelin Kwaymullina from UWA, Carol Innes (co-Chair on Reconcilation WA) and Tom Joyner for ICEA). It was really pleasing to see this debate continuing to mature with many seeing a more inclusive national day as another small step towards stronger reconciliation.

This week in Freo also included the special Manjaree opening at Notre Dame to promote reconciliation. Manjaree (meaning meeting place in Noongar) is a place Notre Dame hopes its students can connect and also one in which there is also a respectful engagement and learning about Aboriginal culture.

Back at the City of Fremantle, staff have also been working on some wonderful practical initiatives. Fremantle has been a leader in this space by setting a target for employment of aboriginal people.

This week to increase our opportunities for Indigenous people we have just welcomed seven young indigenous trainees who commenced work at the City of Fremantle . They have commenced in one area of the organisation and will move around over their time at the City. Currently they are located in areas from Governance  to Community Development to Records Management to Infrastructure projects to Customer Service and even at the Fremantle Leisure centre.

There is also opportunity to move the trainees to different parts of the organisation to give them a varied experience at the City. The trainees come from a range of interesting backgrounds, a mix of both male and female and have been welcomed with open arms to the City. Below is a photo of the trainees who met the CEO and Mayor for morning tea this week.  They have been at the City for two weeks and are all making an impact in their respective teams.

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: