East Fremantle Builds Reconciliation Locally - Working Group Meet to Develop Action Plan

Published on Tuesday, 6 October 2020 at 3:01:59 PM

An important first step was taken along to the path to reconciliation last night in East Fremantle when the Town hosted the first meeting of its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Working Group.

The Working Group is comprised of Noongar elders, local Councillors and community representatives, who have each expressed a personal interest in advancing reconciliation in East Fremantle with emphasis placed on respect, relationships and opportunities.

At the group’s first meeting, the participants reflected on their interest in reconciliation and why they wanted to participate, followed a discussion of the scope and purpose of the RAP, and offered ideas for what the Town (and the community) can do, in terms of practical and meaningful actions, to foster genuine reconciliation.

Reflecting on the meeting, Deputy Mayor Cr Jenny Harrington said: “I welcome the interest and the participation of the Noongar elders and our community members in this process so that we can reflect true reconciliation and give this real prominence in our Town.”

She advised that the RAP will evolve collaboratively through a series of meetings in coming weeks, and support has already been expressed for reflecting local Noongar history, stories, imagery and place names. 

Town elected officials and staff agreed that more should be done to make economic development opportunities available through procurement policies, the awarding of contracts, and employment.  Representation was also raised as an important issue, highlighting the need to encourage local Noongar people to seek leadership roles in the Town, including as elected officials.

Noongar elder, Malcolm Champion said: “In the past, reconciliation has been considered as an afterthought, but it should be a before thought. We invite you to learn from our experiences and see through our eyes.” 

Gladys Yarran, also a Noongar elder, welcomed the opportunity to sit down with Council, that both communities needed to come together to help to close the gap; to learn together, work together, to give input and to be listened to.

CEO of the Town of East Fremantle, Gary Tuffin, said: “We look forward to receiving the recommendations of the Working Group, and integrating reconciliation into the policies, strategies and operations of the Town in a meaningful and respectful way.”

He advised that the development of the RAP would be facilitated with the help of expert consultants Danny Ford and Tim Muirhead of Kambarang Services and it would be then tabled for public comment and then to Council for endorsement prior to implementation as a priority.

He advised that updates on the progress of the RAP Working Group would be made available via the Town’s website and through the Town’s social media channels.

Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group

Caption: At the first meeting of the Town of East Fremantle’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group were L-R back row: Tim Muirhead, Gary Tuffin – CEO Town of East Fremantle, Danny Ford, Deputy Mayor Cr Jenny Harrington, Cr Michael McPhail, Cr Cliff Collinson. Front row seated L-R were Noongar elders Malcolm Champion, Gladys Yarran and Farley Garlett.

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