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Council adopts January 26 Statement of Intent

Media release

The City of Greater Bendigo will move its Australia Day citizenship ceremony to January 25 and work with the local First Nations community to plan for more inclusive events on January 26.

The changes align with the Statement of Intent that was adopted by Council last night at the July Council meeting.

Mayor Cr Andrea Metcalf said the Statement of Intent demonstrated Council’s increased understanding and leadership around the impact of January 26 on local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

“Council’s decision aligns with the City’s Barpangu Reconciliation Plan and recognises that January 26 is a difficult day for our First Nations community,” Cr Metcalf said.

“I welcome the City supporting future opportunities where the broader Greater Bendigo community can come together and express compassion and understanding, and reflect on the impact of colonisation on First Nations people.

“We will work with Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative, DJAARA, and the Taungurung Land and Waters Council to discuss what a community event may look like in the future.

“These changes are in addition to what already takes place on January 26 and traditional Australia Day events will still be run by local service clubs and volunteer groups.

“Adopting the Statement of Intent is another important step for the City and the role of Councillors and staff in supporting reconciliation locally.

“As we move towards the Voice referendum and continue to have important discussions about our nation’s history, I ask our community to be respectful and remember that these conversations affect our First Nations residents.

“Irrespective of your personal feelings, words have impact. I do not want to see our community become divided over such matters and want to emphasise the importance of making room for everyone.”

The Statement of Intent was supported by DJAARA (Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation) and the Bendigo and District Aboriginal Cooperative, while the Taungurung Land and Waters Council developed the ‘Taungurung Statement on January 26’ as a guide to stakeholders on their approach to January 26 events.

Greater Bendigo