A motion led by Noosa Council in tandem with two indigenous councils has helped gain the support of Queensland local governments to endorse the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Noosa joined Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council in proposing that the endorsement of the Uluru Statement be considered at the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) annual conference.
In the end, the LGAQ Policy Executive and Torres Shire Council also supported the motion.
When the motion was put to the assembly yesterday, it was supported 159 votes to 38.
Mayor Tony Wellington said the overwhelming support sends a clear message.
“We now expect the Australian Local Government Association to take the lead on this matter and encourage other local governments across the nation to show their support,” he said.
“The lack of constitutional recognition of First Nations peoples is one of Australia’s longest standing unresolved issues and I am so pleased that Queensland councils have publicly declared their support.”
“The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a moving and powerful document and I am extremely proud that our Noosa councillors felt so strongly about the issue that we supported the joint motion with Cherbourg Aboriginal Shire Council.” The Mayor said.
Cr Wellington said the Statement provides the largest ever consensus of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on a proposal for substantive constitution reform.
“Queensland councils clearly believe it should be a national priority to give indigenous people a voice in matters that affect them,” he said.
“This is a landmark decision by local governments in Queensland.” Cr Wellington said.
The Uluru Statement and its call for Voice, Treaty, Truth will provide the mechanism to build a relationship between First Nations and the people of Australia towards one based on fairness, truth, justice and self-determination.
“The Uluru Statement is a call to recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s unique place in the nation’s history, stretching back tens of thousands of years,” Cr Wellington said.
“The Statement provides for greater participation in political decisions affecting First Nations people. However, it is not, as some have suggested, proposing a third tier of federal government.”
“Equality cannot be pursued in ignorance of the past. If we are ever to mature as a nation, we need to embrace our whole history and shrug off the simplistic self-imagery we have been clinging to.”
The LGAQ Policy Executive will now write to the national body, requesting effective representation of local government in the Federal Government’s response to the Statement.