Aboriginal flag set to fly

City of Rockingham deputy Mayor Richard Smith in front of the City’s flagpoles. Picture: Elle Borgward www.communitypix.com.au d417783
City of Rockingham deputy Mayor Richard Smith in front of the City’s flagpoles. Picture: Elle Borgward www.communitypix.com.au d417783

The seemingly small gesture is a massive stride on the journey to reconciliation, according to Reconciliation Action Committee chairman Ashley Garlett, who is one of many local Nyungar leaders who have worked closely with the City on the document.

The draft 2014-2017 RAP was recently released to the public for comment and will aim to recognise the valuable contribution that local Nyungar and other Aboriginal people have made throughout the history of Rockingham and its surrounding areas.

The RAP provides the City with an important strategic commitment to reconciliation, which will assist in achieving key factors to turn intention into action.

Mr Garlett said although the plan was probably overdue, he was happy the City had endorsed it and was committed to seriously tackling the issue of reconciliation.

‘This area is significant to the Nyungar culture, life and people and it’s pleasing to see (the City) acting and taking a strong position on reconciliation,’ Mr Garlett said.

‘Reconciliation is a journey and one that people have strong opinions on, whether they’re accepting of it or think it’s not important; there’s a lot of stops and starts on a journey and reconciliation is no different.

‘I’ve been involved for the past year and I think we’re closer than ever because there seems to be more drive from both sides and that’s a lot better than it not being implemented into the community.

‘It’s just a matter of time before reconciliation is a reality.’

The City of Kwinana has permanently flown the Aboriginal flag at its administration offices since the beginning of National Naidoc Week in July, 2013, and Mr Garlett said he was confused the flag was a permanent fixture in Kwinana but not Rockingham.

‘Everywhere I went when I visited Sydney had an Aboriginal flag flying, so for the City to recognise and acknowledge the flag in the plan is pleasing,’ he said.

Public comment is open until April 18 at http://www.rocking ham.wa.gov.au/Events/Reconcilia tion-Action-Plan-Survey.aspx.