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Ipswich Indigenous Accord milestones mark steps taken towards reconciliation

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding, Sharron mirii Bell with Dinawan (which means emu) and Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Cr Andrew Fechner.

A range of milestones reached through the Indigenous Accord have reaffirmed Ipswich’s commitment to reconciliation as the community celebrates 2022 National Reconciliation Week.

This year’s theme, for the annual week from 27 May to 3 June, is Be Brave. Make Change.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said this year’s theme challenges all Australians to be brave and tackle unfinished business to bring true reconciliation a step closer.

“Reconciliation Week is a time dedicated to building respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, while recognising the ongoing work needed for reconciliation to progress,” Mayor Harding said.

“It is an ongoing journey for all of us. Council’s path to supporting and progressing reconciliation action is outlined in the 2020-2025 Indigenous Accord.

“The Accord provides that framework for collaboration and co-operation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and Ipswich City Council.

“It establishes a common vision, which the communities of Ipswich have had an active role in shaping and participating in reconciliation and will have a critical role in bringing meaningful progress in our community.”

National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements, and to explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

We all have a role to play when it comes to reconciliation, and in playing our part we collectively build relationships and communities that value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories, cultures, and futures.

Find out more information about National Reconciliation Week here.

Community, Culture, Arts and Sport Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Fechner said it had been two years since council endorsed the Accord and made a commitment to reconciliation outcomes that are purpose-led and consultative.

“The Accord recognises the importance of community and government coming together to achieve the best outcomes for the Ipswich community, and it is wonderful that a number of milestones have been reached,” Cr Fechner said.

Some of the achievements made under the Accord in the past six months include:

  • Changes to council practices, including the establishment of an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Working Group which will be held to ensure the workplace is a culturally safe and supporting environment.
  • The Regional Arts Development Fund awarded Sharron mirii Bell to deliver Mawang Buwanha project, an educational video about country, language and our native flora and fauna through First Nations storytelling.
  • The Viva Cribb Bursary awarded to Goodna Special School to support a project to embed First Nations language, learning and history in their school.
  • Council funded a Murri Cultural Camp where 40 young people engaged with local elders at the Ivory Rocks Convention Centre.

Councillor Fechner said many other actions and milestones were underway, or already embedded in council activities and processes.

“This spans from engaging Indigenous storytellers at the Children’s Library to facilitating Black Coffee events allowing Indigenous businesses to network and create opportunities,” Cr Fechner said.

“We look forward to continuing the shared journey towards reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples in Ipswich.”

The Indigenous Accord 2020-2025 is council’s strategic framework for reconciliation and community governance with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and their communities.

It contains targeted and specific actions and sets the agenda for cooperation, collaboration and partnership between council and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Find out more about council’s Indigenous Accord here.

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