Indigenous inclusion in Australia Day activities on coast
ALTHOUGH Merle O'Donnell was at yesterday's council meeting to hear about a separate matter, she felt compelled to commend Cr Adam Belot on his motion to include Indigenous community members on to the Australia Day Committee.
The former councillor, working in local government from 1997 to 2000 told The Morning Bulletin that she applauded his actions.
"We've got to look at reconciliation," she said.
Mrs O'Donnell said she believed the local Indigenous and Islander community would have a lot to offer the committee and that could only be a step in the right direction to bridging the cultural gap.
The Notice of Motion was unanimously passed at the meeting held at Emu Park's Community Hall.
It was again brought to the council table after tense debate at last week's meeting.
Cr Belot had brought the issue of representation up during the council's previous meeting, but his suggestion was countered by both mayor Bill Ludwig and councillor Jan Kelly.
The pair claimed the Indigenous population did not want to be involved in Australia Day discussions, as they viewed it as 'Invasion Day'.
The motion was brought to the table in order to enhance the diversity and inclusive representation of the existing Livingstone Shire Australia Day Awards Committee and the invitation be extended (up to two people) to the Indigenous and South Sea Islander residents of the Livingstone Shire, to participate on the Livingstone Shire Australia Day Awards Committee.
Cr Belot said the inclusion of Indigenous Australians on the committee would build relationships and be a nice sentiment to assist with trying to merge the cultures together.
Cr Belot hoped the councillors would reconsider their decision.
"Indigenous leaders within Central Queensland and Livingstone have expressed their desire to be part of Australia Day," he said yesterday.
"Doug Hatfield, president of the Darumbal Corporation expressed his personal support.
"Meaningful reconciliation starts with us individually and then collectively."