A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Greater Shepparton City Council and Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation (YYNAC) was endorsed at Tuesday night’s Ordinary Council meeting as a further step to formalise the commitment to supporting increased participation by and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in Council planning and decision-making.
Both organisations share the desire and goodwill to work jointly to improve the understanding and integration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues in the planning and services provided by Council with a view to support increased community participation, improved employment opportunities and improved health and wellbeing outcomes for members of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. Alongside this is the wish for broader understanding and recognition amongst our wider Greater Shepparton community of the region’s rich Aboriginal heritage and proud tradition. The MoU will provide the impetus to make this happen.
The MoU is underpinned by a series of agreed principles and actions:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are acknowledged as the first people of this land, which is now reflected in the revised Acknowledgement – We, Greater Shepparton City Council, acknowledge the Yorta Yorta Peoples of the land which now comprises Greater Shepparton, we pay our respect to their tribal elders, we celebrate their continuing culture and we acknowledge the memory of their ancestors.
- Recognition that the arrival of non-Aboriginal people brought massive change to the landscape and way of life of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and a strong desire exists in Greater Shepparton to address the past and embrace the process of reconciliation.
- A commitment to working with one another to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People’s self-determination.
- Ensuring that there is respect, understanding and strong regard held for Aboriginal and Torres Strait.
- Islander cultural heritage, traditions, customs and beliefs Improvements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce participation, health and wellbeing outcomes are paramount in planning and decision-making.
“It is critical that we continue to recognise the past, present and future contribution of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People to Greater Shepparton, and the endorsement of this MoU will ensure that this will happen and is undertaken in a collaborative and informed way,” suggests Mayor Cr Seema Abdullah.
“We must continue to improve and provide opportunities for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to participate in the planning of the future of Greater Shepparton including services and programs delivered by Council, and this must be undertaken in a culturally relevant and inclusive way. The MoU is not only a commitment to this but provides the framework and process to make this happen.”
“Council is looking forward to continuing to working Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation and is excited how the MoU will support further steps towards true reconciliation with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.”
Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan can be viewed here.