Wominjeka: new steps to support indigenous residents

Hume City Council's 2015 NAIDOC Week ceremony
Acknowledgement: Hume's 2015 NAIDOC Week ceremony in Craigieburn.

Hume City Council was proud to recognise the first people of Australia, and would expand the avenues through which it acknowledged the community’s traditional custodians, Hume Mayor, Councillor Helen Patsikatheodorou, said today.

Cr Patsikatheodorou said Hume had updated its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recognition Policy.

“More than 1,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people call Hume home, and we want to help ‘close the gap’ between indigenous and non-indigenous locals,” Cr Patsikatheodorou said.

“Our newly updated policy commences at a terrific time, because the number of indigenous people who utilise our maternal and child health service has jumped by 50 per cent in the past 12 months.

“This is promising news, since our services can offer a healthy start to life for some of Hume’s youngest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“Across Australia, the gap in life expectancy between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples is more than 17 years.

“Hume City Council will continue to work closely with local indigenous residents, to help them to access the beneficial services which are available to everyone in our community.”

Council’s revised recognition policy outlines that Hume will fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags at half-mast on National Sorry Day, scheduled for 26 May each year.

Hume will also add the word ‘wominjeka’, which means ‘welcome’, to signs in foyers at Council buildings.

The policy explains the way Council will prominently acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in its strategies, action plans and publications.

Cr Patsikatheodorou said it was important to be sensitive to the cultural traditions of Australia’s first people.

“We have consulted widely with local indigenous people, who underscored the significance of symbolic acknowledgements,” she said.

“Many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are more likely to access a Council service, like maternal health, if they feel it is delivered in a manner that respects indigenous culture.

“We want the first people of this nation to feel comfortable with Hume City Council, so that they utilise the services which can make a big difference to their lives, like home care and preschool.

“Hume’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents should enjoy the same opportunities as everyone else, and it’s this social justice principle that underpins our recognition policy.”

Hume City Council flies the Aboriginal flag outside its customer service centres at Sunbury, Craigieburn and Broadmeadows.

It has also installed plaques that recognise indigenous people at Hume’s community facilities and municipal borders.

For further information on ways that Hume City Council works to improve the quality of life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, visit here.

Posted on 12:00 AM, 18 March 2016

Updated : 3:35 PM, 18 March 2016

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