Mayor Robert Bria, of the City of Norwood Payneham & St Peters, has slammed the removal of four prominent flags outside the Norwood Town Hall overnight – including the Australian and Aboriginal flags – without any correspondence with the Council.
The flags – which also include the South Australian and the Council’s own flag – were removed as part of roadworks by two private property owners – acting on behalf of the Department for Infrastructure and Transport – who are installing permanent right hand lanes at the intersection with George St.
The Council is strongly opposed to these roadworks and the detrimental effect the right hand turns will have on The Parade for both the short and long term.
Mayor Bria said that the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Australia National Flag protocol provides the option of holding a ceremony to mark the retirement of a used Australian National Flag, but that opportunity was not afforded to the Council or to the community
“At no stage did the Department for Infrastructure and Transport (DIT) or the property owners doing the work at the intersection on their behalf, ever bother to approach Council about holding a flag-retiring ceremony,” said Mayor Bria.
“The Australian flag has flown outside the Norwood Town Hall for three decades, and along with the Aboriginal flag, have been symbols for the civic and cultural identity of our City,” he said.
“To have the Australian and Aboriginal flags taken down under the cover of darkness in such an undignified and disrespectful way, is an egregious affront to the local community and Aboriginal people.
“As a level of government, the Council has always treated the Australian flag with the reverence it deserves and has flown the Aboriginal flag as a symbol of Reconciliation.
“Sadly, this sentiment does not appear to be shared by the Department for Infrastructure and Transport or the two private property developers.
“DIT’s ‘Reconciliation Statement of Commitment says the Department respects Aboriginal peoples as the State’s first peoples and nation, but the treatment of the Aboriginal flag during the construction of the works has been anything but respectful.”