RESIDENTS of the Far North are being encouraged to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 referendum and the 25th anniversary of the Mabo High Court decision as part of National Reconciliation Week activities.
The Coalition Government is supporting these celebrations through a range of activities and programmes including a local council grant funding round.
Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said he was pleased to announce that seven councils in Far North Queensland have received a one-off $5,000 grant to support anniversary celebrations during National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June 2017).
“In most cases, the councils will partner with local indigenous and community groups to commemorate two very significant events in our nation’s history,” Mr Entsch said.
The councils, and their partnering organisations (where applicable), are:
• Kowanyama Aboriginal Shire Council – Men's Group, Women's Group, Anglican Diocese Church Group, Cultural Service & Dance Group
• Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council
• Mapoon Aboriginal Council
• Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council – Apunipima Health
• Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council – Pormpur Paanthur Aboriginal Corporation Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Youth Leadership Group Pormpuraaw Justice Group
• Torres Shire Council – TRAWQ Indigenous Cooperation
• Torres Strait Island Regional Council – Indigenous Knowledge Centres
“The 1967 Referendum achieved an unprecedented 90.77 per cent ‘yes’ vote to recognise First Australians in the Census and provide the Australian Government with the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Mr Entsch said.
“The Mabo High Court case was a landmark moment in the history of Indigenous land rights, overturning the doctrine of ‘terra ius’ that led to the passing of the Native Title Act 1993.”
Native title is the legal recognition that some Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have rights and interests on certain land because of their traditional laws and customs. Since the Mabo decision, native title has been recognised in more than two million square kilometres of land and has led to opportunities for economic development and independence.
Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said the referendum and Mabo decision were two highly significant events that played an important role in enabling local communities to walk together in a grass-roots movement.
“I am proud knowing communities across Australia will be honouring these anniversaries in their own way,” Minister Scullion said.
“I am delighted that seven councils in Leichhardt are able to mark the significance of these two occasions in a manner that recognises the importance of these events to Australia’s shared story.”
Residents are encouraged to share their story of their community’s celebration of these anniversaries under the banner of #NRW2017.
For more information about National Reconciliation events in Far North Queensland, go to http://www.reconciliation.org.au/nrw/