Bundy reflects on reconciliation journey
IN THE spirit of taking the next step, the Australian, Aboriginal and Torres Strait flags were raised high at Buss Park yesterday morning as the Bundaberg Regional Council hosted a morning tea and flag raising event in observance of National Reconciliation Week.
Councillors were joined by members of the local indigenous community, teachers, students and local residents to celebrate two milestones in Australia's reconciliation journey - the 1967 referendum and the historic Mabo decision.
Mayor Jack Dempsey highlighted the injustices done to the aboriginal communities of Australia and spoke of his personal association with Aboriginal rights campaigner Eddie Mabo.
The crowd was treated to a taste of indigenous culture with didgeridoo player Dale Brown and traditional dances led by Everett Johnson of the Gooreng Gooreng people.
The flag raising ceremony was performed by Dale Brown (Aboriginal), Uncle Andy Warrior (Thursday Island) and Mayor Jack Dempsey (Australian).
Cr Jack Dempsey said the morning had been organised in partnership with the Port Curtis Coral Coast Trust and in conjunction with Gladstone and North Burnett regional councils.
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service also joined in celebrating Reconciliation Week with official ceremonies held at Hervey Bay and Bundaberg, where WBHHS representatives presented its Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation to Traditional Custodians from local Aboriginal clans.
WBHHS chief executive Adrian Pennington said it was appropriate to make a public declaration of reconciliation during a year that marked a significant anniversary for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the broader Australian community.
"National Reconciliation Week is always an event of importance to the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service, but this year it takes on extra significance because of the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision,” Mr Pennington said.
"It's also a fitting time to present our Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation, which is not only a public demonstration of our commitment, but also a declaration of our goal to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health outcomes,” he said.
"It's an important statement that has numerous health goals such as improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander life expectancy by closing the gap by 2033 and halving the gap in mortality for children under five by 2018.”