Reflections on the past pave the road to reconciliation

This year’s National Reconciliation Week theme was Don’t Keep History a Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow. It encouraged all Australians to unearth our shared past and discover more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.

Reconciliation Action Plan Project Manager at the Federal Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Casey Millward, said the week invited Australians to ask themselves: what are some of the things I don’t know about our history?

“It’s essential as Australians we share an understanding of the history that has shaped the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians,” Casey said.

According to the 2016 Australian Reconciliation Barometer our nation’s history is a mystery to many Australians, with more than one in three Australians not accepting that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples were subject to mass killings, incarceration and forced removal from land.

“For me, to truly create a reconciled Australia we need to ensure that we don’t repeat the mistakes of the past and the way to do this is through truth telling, understanding and acceptance,” Casey said.

“We believe that by working with our partners, employees, other Australian Government agencies, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians, we can positively influence reconciliation in Australia and make a real difference in people’s lives.”

Councils across Australia held a range of events and activities celebrating National Reconciliation Week. As a strong supporter of National Reconciliation Week, councils play a central role in acknowledging Australia's past and celebrating the future through holding these events to celebrate the spirit of reconciliation.

The local government sector as a whole continues to be committed to developing and promoting Indigenous involvement in events and celebrations of significance which respect the dignity and protocols of the local Indigenous community, as well as improving the level of participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in local government at all levels.

More information about reconciliation is available on