NAIDOC Week sees the nation come together to learn, respect and celebrate the diversity and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture.
Local governments everywhere are proud supporters of NAIDOC Week and actively engage with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous community groups to celebrate indigenous culture, history and experiences with Australians from all walks of life. We play a central role with many NAIDOC Week events either organised by councils, held at council chambers or hosted at council-owned community centres.
Celebrations this year were guided by the theme ‘Because of her, we can!’ which recognises the role and outstanding achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are strong role models and leaders in their homes, communities and society more broadly. As pillars of our society, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played – and continue to play – active and significant roles at the community, local, state and national levels.
Our own sector boasts a number of exceptional Indigenous women who are inspiring role models for our next generation of Indigenous leaders. This includes Mayor Vonda Malone from the Torres Strait Shire Council, who is a fellow of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner's Indigenous Fellowship Program and is also a recipient of the Centenary Medal and the NAIDOC Award of Excellence, and Eileen Deemal-Hall, CEO of Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council which was recently awarded the 2018 National Award for Excellence in Local Government at our NGA Dinner last month.
They – among many other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women in local government – are the quiet, unheard leaders making important and positive changes in our communities and yet they often go unacknowledged.
Well this week, we take the opportunity to say thank you to Vonda and Eileen, and to every other Indigenous woman across our vast nation, for the tireless service and valuable contribution you have made to your families, your communities, the local government sector, or whichever field you are providing support and encouragement to make our communities and our country the very best it can be. We appreciate your diligence, dedication and effort, and the diverse and important perspectives you share with us to enhance your community and the local government sector.
Congratulations and best wishes for NAIDOC Week and beyond, well beyond!
Mayor David O’Loughlin