Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
Maitland City Council acknowledges Aboriginal peoples as the First Peoples of this Country and the Wonnarua People as the Traditional Custodians, Owners and knowledge holders of the land and waterways within the Maitland Local Government Area. Council pays respect to all Aboriginal Elders, past and present and respects the unbroken deep cultural and spiritual connection Aboriginal people have with this Country.
We are committed to respecting and recognising the histories, rights, values and celebrating the cultures of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Please be aware that this website may contain images, voices and names of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have passed away.
Aboriginal Reference Group
The Aboriginal Reference Group was established in April 2019 and is made up of external Aboriginal stakeholder and individual representatives, bringing together a broad range of valuable experience, expertise, skills and knowledge. Two Councillors and two Council Officers from Recreation and Community Planning also comprise of the group membership.
The group meet bimonthly to talk with Council officers from across various departments on upcoming plans and projects, and to discuss a range of matters.
The Aboriginal Reference Group have been the driver for the development of Council’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), for which planning is currently underway. The RAP Working Group will oversee the development and implementation of the RAP which comprises of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal internal and external membership, including two of the Aboriginal Reference Group representatives.
Purpose of the ARG
The purpose of the Aboriginal Reference Group is to provide:
- A structure to enable effective and sustainable communication between Council and key representatives of the local Aboriginal community
- A link between Council and the broader Aboriginal community
- Information, guidance and strategic advice on matters relating to Aboriginal community, culture and heritage.
Role of the ARG
The responsibilities of the Aboriginal Reference Group are to;
- Provide input into planning, development and implementation of council policies, strategies, action plans and projects relating to (or impacting on) Aboriginal culture, community and heritage, and deliver actions as appropriate
- Maintain the role as the primary stakeholder representing the local Aboriginal community, and a conduit between Council and the broader Aboriginal community
- Provide information and specialist advice in their areas of interest and expertise.
Membership of the ARG
Membership for the Aboriginal Reference Group is for the term of Council. New members can submit an Expression of Interest during the membership recruitment period. All expressions of interest are assessed by a panel of four ARG representatives.
For more information about the Aboriginal Reference Group, please contact the Community & Recreation Planning Team 49349 700 or [email protected]
Reconciliation Action Plan
At a Council meeting in March 2020 the commitment was made to draft a Reconciliation Action Plan for the first time. The Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) will clearly outline our strong commitment in working towards achieving reconciliation within our community, what we plan to do to achieve this, how we will do it and by when. The development, implementation and reporting of the RAP will be overseen by the RAP Working Group, which is made up of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal internal Council representatives and external community representatives, including two of the Aboriginal Reference Group members.
RAP is a nationally recognised program of Reconciliation Australia, which has been designed for organisations and businesses to use as a practical tool for advancing reconciliation in our Country. RAPs help us to achieve shared values, goals and common language regarding reconciliation, and focus us towards collective action in creating a just and equitable community for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The RAP will be the strategic framework implemented to provide governance and guidance in helping Council to turn good intentions in to real and positive outcomes, to develop strong relationships and create meaningful opportunities with our local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
For more information about the commitment to developing the draft Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), please contact the Community & Recreation Planning Team 49349 700 or [email protected]
NAIDOC Week is held annually in July to celebrate and recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and peoples. It is a celebration not only for Indigenous communities, but for all Australians.
This year, NAIDOC Week is being held 8 – 15 November 2020 and the theme is ‘Always Was, Always Will Be’, in recognition that First Nations peoples have occupied, cared for and maintained a strong and unbroken cultural and spiritual connection with the land and waterways of this Country for over 65,000 years.