National Reconciliation Week is a time for Australians to reflect on our shared histories, a time to celebrate the achievements and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and a time to think about how we can positively contribute to closing the gap for the benefit of all Australians. This year’s reconciliation week took place last week. It marked a quarter of a century since the establishment of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, 15 years since the establishment of Reconciliation Australia and 10 years of Reconciliation Australia’s reconciliation action plan program.
The theme for Reconciliation Week in 2016 was Our History, Our Story, Our Future and was derived from The State of Reconciliation in Australia. The report asks all Australians to reflect on our national identity and the place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and rights in our nation’s story. Exhibitions and performances took place across Victoria and Australia to celebrate this very important week.
I take this opportunity to mention the events held in Portland in my electorate at the civic hall last Friday. They included cultural performances by the Winda Mara Dancers; presentations from local secondary school students Acacia Scott from Portland Secondary College, Jamaine Jones from Heywood & District Secondary College, and Kaitlyn Boyer from Bayview College; a Koori art display; music from Aaron Morgan; presentations on Indigenous projects including the Budj Bim master plan by elder Denis Rose; and a keynote speech from executive director of Aboriginal Victoria, Jason Mifsud.
Congratulations to all those involved in these events that celebrated the rich and proud Indigenous history of the south-west of Victoria.