Bespoke welcome in reconciliation push

MELVILLE councillors could get cultural awareness training every two years under a new policy being considered by the city.

At the previous monthly council meeting, Cr Tim Barling got support for a new cultural awareness policy, which also foreshadows a bespoke Acknowledgement of Country for the city.

Acknowledgement

“An Acknowledgement of Country that is unique to the City of Melville aligns with the fact that a Welcome to Country ceremony is personal and local to the person and place that it is given,” Cr Barling said.

His original motion had explicitly called for training for councillors to align with inductions, but it was watered down with Crs June Barton and Steve Keppert concerned about the sessions being mandatory.

“I don’t think future councillors should be made to do it if they already have a good awareness,” Cr Barton noted, adding she’d done her fair share in the past.

Cr Barling noted Melville was the first WA local government to endorse a “stretch reconciliation action plan”, which is set out in Reconciliation Australia’s reconciliation program.

He said while the goals of the SRAP were embedded in the corporate structure, they were a little remote from councillors themselves and a policy might put them more into focus.

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