While taking place in a different month and with all events online, Victoria Police’s NAIDOC Week celebrations will be as significant and important as every other year.
NAIDOC Week, which has previously been celebrated across Australia each July, runs from 8 November – 15 November, after it was postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
To honour this year’s NAIDOC Week theme, Always Was, Always Will Be, the Victoria Police Academy has worked with a local Aboriginal business Kinya Lerrk to develop six acknowledgement of country plaques. Each plaque recognises and honours the importance of the land the Victoria Police Academy in Glen Waverley is built on to its traditional owners. They will be installed at the entrance of prominent buildings at the Academy.
Assistant Commissioner Russell Barrett said the acknowledgment of country plaques demonstrate to Aboriginal recruits, all employees and visitors that Victoria Police welcomes and respects Aboriginal culture.
“The acknowledgment of country plaques will educate everyone on the need for continual progress towards strengthening relationships and reconciliation,” AC Barrett said.
“The detailed artwork on the plaques also provides enjoyment for those working or visiting the Academy, and acts as an important conversation starter.
“Having positive partnerships with Victoria’s Aboriginal community is vital.
“Our Aboriginal Community Liaison Officers continue to take important steps in breaking down barriers between police and community.”
The Academy will also be supporting NAIDOC Week by hosting two online panel discussions, which covers topics such as linkages to the Aboriginal community in both regional and metro settings, varying cultures within Aboriginal society, the importance of understanding their differences, and personal insights as a police officer of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent.
Victoria Police Aboriginal Employee Network Council Chairperson Acting Senior Sergeant Christian Wake said the panel discussions will give staff a chance to hear first-hand from Victoria Police Aboriginal employees and allies.
“We aren’t able to gather in person like we usually would, but as Aboriginal employees we feel it’s important to celebrate NAIDOC Week, our culture and have discussions about how Victoria Police can work to strengthen relationships and partnerships with Victoria’s Aboriginal community,” Acting Senior Sergeant Wake said.
“We are keen to share as much knowledge as possible and ensure the voices of our Aboriginal community are heard and understood.”
The 2020 theme of Always Was, Always Will Be recognises that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years.
Victoria Police will be flying Aboriginal flags at stations across the state in celebration and support of NAIDOC Week.