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The City of Melville is the first local government in Western Australia to release a Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), representing the third stage in a series of four as outlined in the reconciliation program by Reconciliation Australia.

The City's Stretch RAP 2017-2021 was endorsed by Council in June 2017 following its development in consultation with a number of stakeholders including the RAP Continuous Improvement Team, the Djidi Djidi Aboriginal Women’s Group, the Walyalup Reconciliation Group and Reconciliation Australia.

The plan allows Melville to delve deeper into the reconciliation process and focus on implementing longer-term strategies, and challenges us to work towards measurable targets and goals to demonstrate commitment to reconciliation within the community and workplace.

The Stretch RAP identifies clear actions for achieving the goals of the RAP program, including providing learning opportunities and resources for increasing understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture; creating opportunities for staff and the ATSI community to develop relationships through shared events and engagement; and providing employment and economic development initiatives for ATSI peoples and businesses.

A number of key outcomes were achieved through the implementation of the City’s Innovate RAP 2013-2017 including; Welcome to Country included at all City events; recorded oral histories of four local Aboriginal community members and the filming of an oral history of local Elder Laurel Nannup with support from the Film and Television Institute WA Inc.; incorporation of Noongar history and culture in the design of projects such as Carawatha Park and Wireless Hill; cross cultural awareness training for City staff and Elected Members and opportunities for staff and the community to participate in Noongar language workshops and cultural tours to mark significant dates such as National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week; and the completion of Aboriginal Engagement Strategy: Directions from Aboriginal Communities 2015-2018.

For more information and to view a copy of the Stretch RAP, visit www.melvillecity.com.au/rap or contact Community Development Officers (Aboriginal Engagement) Leanne Woods, leanne.woods@melville.wa.gov.au or Shahna Rind, shahna.rind@melville.wa.gov.au.

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6 September 2017


2017 National NAIDOC Theme - Our Languages Matter

The importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages will be the focus of national celebrations marking NAIDOC Week 2017.

The 2017 theme - Our Languages Matter - aims to emphasize and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.

Some 250 distinct Indigenous language groups covered the continent at first (significant) European contact in the late eighteenth century. Most of these languages would have had several dialects, so that the total number of named varieties would have run to many hundreds. Today only around 120 of those languages are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost as Elders pass on.

The community came togather to celebrate NAIDOC Week on Saturday 8 July at the Willagee Community Centre with traditional song and dance performances by the legendary Dave Pigram and local Aboriginal dance groups. It was a successful family/local event which celebrated the importance and resilience of the Aboriginal elders within the community, and the crucial role that the elders fulfil in keeping the culture and history alive in their families.


Thank you to the member of our community for sharing the 2 videos below. If you have photos or videos from NAIDOC Week to share, you may post them in the comments section below.

Welcome to Country

Local Aboriginal dance group

How did you celebrate NAIDOC Week?

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11 July 2017


Kylie Bracknell shares some of her favourite Nyungar words on Word Up, a podcast program produced by the ABC, shares the diverse languages on Indigenous Australia from Anmatyerre to Arrernte, from Bidjara to Bundjalung, from Nyungar to Ngaanyatjarra, from Yankunytjatjara to Yorta Yorta - one word at a time.

Each week speakers, language experts and revivalists to share a compelling word from their mother tongue.

Aboriginal language terms are often metaphors, with dual meaning. For instance, the word for 'river' might also be the word for the Milky Way (which appears to flow like water) while the word for an expectant mother's belly might also translate to 'the future'.

To learn more of our country's beautiful languages, visit Word Up to watch the videos or subscribe on iTunes, the ABC Radio app or wherever you get your podcasts.

Kylie Bracknell (formerly Kylie Farmer) [Kaarljilba Kaardn] is an Aboriginal Australian actor, writer, TV presenter and theatre director from the south west of Western Australia – the Nyungar nation.

This article has been sourced from ABC Word Up: Kylie Bracknell

We invite you to share your knowledge of our country’s Indigenous languages.

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7 July 2017


As part of a National strategy to educate younger Indigenous consumers to know their consumer rights beforehand and to empower them to say “No” to high pressure sales tactics, a music video has been produced by the Department of Commerce, Consumer Protection.

It's OK to Walk Away is part of a National Indigenous Consumer Strategy designed to educate and empower consumers in Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander communities to know their consumer rights.

The City's Accredited Financial Counselor gives some tips you can use to avoid high pressure sales tactics:

  • Know your consumer rights beforehand. If you have bought something and you change your mind, you generally can’t return it.
  • If you have been contacted by a sales person and as a result you have signed the contract, you have the right to change your mind within 10 business days. This is known as a cooling-of period.
  • To avoid being pressured and if you don't want a salesperson coming into your community or home, put up a "Do Not Knock" sticker on the front door. If the salesperson ignores this request, they are breaking the law. You can request for a "Do Not Knock" sticker here
  • Get on the "Do Not Call" register via this webpage to stop telemarketers and salespeople from talking you into making a financial commitment over the phone

For more information on It's OK to Walk Away visit http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/consumer-protection/...

The City has a Financial Counselling service to assist City of Melville residents who are struggling to gain financial control of their lives. This service is free and confidential.

For more information, please contact Karen D-Lee at kdlee@melville.wa.gov.au , at the Willagee Community Centre (corner of Winnacott Street, Willagee) or on 9364 0661 Monday to Wednesday.

How do you say 'No' to high pressure sales tactics?

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20 June 2017


The theme for NAIDOC Week 2017 is Our Languages Matter. This year's theme 'aims to emphasise and celebrate the unique and essential role that Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the transmission of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song'.*

It has been recorded that 250 distinct Indigenous language groups consisting of several dialects within each group once covered the Australian continent. Today, only 120 of those languages are being spoken with the risk of being lost when Indigenous Elders of the group pass on.*

According to National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair Anne Martin, “Aboriginal and Torres Strait languages are not just a means of communication, they express knowledge about everything: law, geography, history, family and human relationships, philosophy, religion, anatomy, childcare, health, caring for country, astronomy, biology and food.

“Each language is associated with an area of land and has a deep spiritual significance and it is through their own languages, that Indigenous nations maintain their connection with their ancestors, land and law,” Ms Martin said.

To celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture, and to recognise the contributions Indigenous Australians have made to our community, Willagee Community Centre will host this year's NAIDOC week celebrations with traditional song and dance performances by the legendary Dave Pigram and the local Aboriginal dance group, with traditional catering by Bindi Bindi Dreaming.

No Alcohol permitted.

Date: Saturday, 8 July 2017

Time: 5:00pm to 8:00pm

Venue: Willagee Community Centre, corner of Winnacott and Archibald Street, Willagee

RSVP: Tuesday, 4 July 2017 to shahna.rind@melville.wa.gov.au

For more information visit www.melvillecity.com.au/communityevents

or call 1300 635 845 | 9364 0666


* Source: http://www.naidoc.org.au/2017-national-naidoc-them...

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19 June 2017


Image from Mabo Native Title

On Tuesday, 6 June 2017, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner June Oscar delivered a landmark speech at the National Native Title Conference in Townsville, "linking Constitutional reform and a treaty with Australia’s First Peoples to the unfinished business of the 1967 Referendum and the Mabo decision.”

She says that Australia as a nation should not be unsettled by a treaty as treaties are already entrenched in public policy and practice through Indigenous Land Use Agreements (ILUAs) and serves as a requirement to consult indigenous people on the nature and extent of land use agreements.

"I don’t believe that we should underestimate the goodwill of our fellow Australians, nor the resolute determination and patience of our peoples.

"We might be patient, but we also see the urgent need to address the situation facing our peoples today – knowing that we cannot wait another 50 years", she says.

Click here to read the full text of Commissioner Oscar's 2017 Mabo Lecture.

What are your thoughts on June Oscar's speech?

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13 June 2017


This year, National Reconciliation Week (NRW) 27 May to 3 June 2017 mark two milestones in Australia's reconciliation journey - the1967 referendum and the historic Mabo decision.

The theme for NRW 2017 is Let's Take the Next Steps.

On Tuesday, 30 May, the community was invited to take part in an Aboriginal Cultural Tour at Piney Lakes with Marissa Verma of Bindi Bindi Dreaming, a local guide who shares her lifetime experiences about Noongar culture through guided tours around the Perth region.

Click here for more information on the Aboriginal Walking Tours at Piney Lakes.

Here're what some tour participants had to say about the afternoon:

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1 June 2017


Despite several efforts from the federal government to close the gap, Indigenous Australians continue to face significant economic disadvantage. The rate of Indigenous labour force is unacceptably low; Indigenous Australians are almost four times as likely to be unemployed and are also less likely to be self-employed.

According to the Indigenous Economic Development Strategy; Indigenous Australians are half as likely to finish Year 12 compared to non-Indigenous Australians. Recent research by The Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research has also found that Indigenous employers are more likely to hire other Indigenous Australians; Indigenous entrepreneurship is vital to growing and sustaining Australia’s Indigenous economy.

This conference will examine strategies to improve sustainable access to jobs for Indigenous people in areas of high Indigenous population and tools to strengthen community controlled enterprises.

In 2011, only 56% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander working age people were participating in the labour force. How can we break down barriers and change this statistic for the better?

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26 July 2016


About Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

  • In 2011, almost 670 000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were living in Australia;[1] around 3 per cent of the Australian population. By 2031, it is estimated that this number will exceed one million, with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprising 3.9 per cent of the population.[2]
  • One third (34.8 per cent) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people live in major cities[3]; 43.8 per cent live in regional areas; 7.7 per cent live in remote areas; and 13.7 per cent live in very remote areas.[4]
  • In 2011, more than one in three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were under 15 years (36 per cent), compared with one-fifth of non-Indigenous Australians. Almost 4 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were aged 65 years and over, compared with 14 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians.[5]
  • In 2011, 11 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people spoke an Indigenous language at home.[6]

Key issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

  • In 2010-12, the average life expectancy of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was approximately ten years (10.6 years for men and 9.5 years for women) less than that of non-Indigenous Australians.[7]Leading causes of death included heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and cancer.[8]
  • Just over half (52.2 per cent) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged between 15 and 64 years were not employed in 2012-2013, compared with 24.4 per cent of non-Indigenous Australians.[9]
  • One in five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women experienced physical violence in the previous 12 months, compared to 7 per cent of non-Indigenous women. Over the same period, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women (12 per cent) were three times more likely to experience sexual violence than non-Indigenous women (4 per cent).[10]
  • In 2008, half of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over had some form of disability.[11] In non-remote areas, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were one-and-a-half times more likely than non-Indigenous adults to have a disability or a long-term health condition.[12]
  • Around one in twelve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults are part of the Stolen Generations. In 2008, 8 per cent (26,900) of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15 years and over stated that they had been removed from their natural family. 35 per cent assessed their health as fair or poor and 39 per cent experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress.[13]
  • The national imprisonment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults is 15 times higher than that for non-Indigenous adults.[14] In the December quarter of 2013, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people comprised 28 per cent of Australia’s full-time adult prison population.[15]
  • There were approximately 250 Australian Indigenous languages spoken at the time of colonisation. However, a 2005 survey found that only 145 Indigenous languages are still spoken to some degree and less than 20 are considered to be “strong” and able to be spoken by all generations.[16]

Positive developments

  • Between 2005-07 and 2010-12, life expectancy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men increased by 1.6 years and by 0.6 years for women. Over the same period, the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the rest of the Australian population reduced by 0.8 years for men and 0.1 years for women.[17]
  • In 2011, 53.9 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged between 20 and 24 years had attained a Year 12 or equivalent qualification, up from 47.4 per cent in 2006.[18] Higher levels of educational attainment are associated with better health outcomes.[19]
  • Between 2002 and 2012, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander smoking rates dropped from 51 per cent to 41 per cent.[20]
  • The 2011 Census results show that health services currently employ 14.6 per cent of employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Health services are the single biggest “industry” source of employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, expanding by almost 4,000 places since 2006.[21]

Source: https://www.humanrights.gov.au/education/face-fact...

How can we all play a part in making sure that every Australian – Indigenous and non-Indigenous – has the opportunities and choices they need to lead full and healthy lives?

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18 July 2016