Rockhampton's latest tourism advertisement was taken down from social media yesterday when the public voiced concerns about the lack of Indigenous representation.
Rockhampton's latest tourism advertisement was taken down from social media yesterday when the public voiced concerns about the lack of Indigenous representation. Contributed

Mayor takes the blame for 'whitewash' tourism ad

UPDATE 2.52PM: MAYOR Margaret Strelow has taken full responsibility for Rockhampton's latest tourism marketing campaign which was slammed for a lack of diversity.

The $6,000 'Rockhampton Can' ad was the subject of controversy today when locals took to social media to voice their outrage over the "whitewash" video.

"It was quickly pointed out to us that it was a little bit Caucasian-centric," Cr Strelow said.

"It was certainly not representative of our community so at my request it was very quickly taken down [last night].

"We've put an apology up on Twitter and on our website. It's not good enough, we acknowledge that.

"I'll take responsibility. I'm the mayor, I saw the video, hundreds of eyes saw the video."

Cr Strelow was tight-lipped about who produced the final cut.

The video was made up of a number of single clips, old and new, and will be re-used in the release of a "new video".

"We will go out and get some additional footage," she said.

"Our marketing material in the last two years... doesn't represent our diversity.

"This particular moment is when it's been pointed out to us and we'll get it right.

"Historically we've not had that representation of the diversity of our community."

"I think the apology has been well received... I believe we did the right thing."

More than 7 per cent of Rockhampton's population is Indigenous.

UPDATE 10.54AM: Rockhampton councillor Tony Williams said he had not personally viewed the controversial 'Rockhampton Can' video before it went online.

Following the backlash on social media about the lack of Indigenous representation in Rockhampton's latest tourism campaign, the council removed the ad from circulation.

Cr Williams said the production of the "whitewash" campaign had been an oversight and he approved of the decision to take down the video.

"I think it's been an oversight from the council in not thinking about what they were doing in promoting the region and overlooking that very important part of our history," Cr Williams said.

"As far as tourism goes, our indigenous culture is really prominent and we need to focus on that and include that as a priority.

"I I understand the concerns that have been raised and I'd like to have seen a higher participation with the Darumbal people than the others.

"Indigenous culture needs to be your first point of call and then you build around that."

Cr Williams said Rockhampton Regional Council will be taking the necessary steps to rectify the situation as soon as possible.

He also commented that he would have liked the opportunity to have viewed the video before it went online.

"I would have loved to have seen the video," he said.

"I spoke to the CEO this morning and he said there was a report that came up about it to the council table.

"But it's obviously been overlooked with the massive workload that we've got."

Further comments from Rockhampton Regional Council to follow.

INITIAL STORY: ROCKHAMPTON Regional Council has taken down its latest tourism marketing video from social media after it was slammed for "white-washing".

After the video was released online yesterday, members of the public voiced their outrage over the 'Rockhampton Can' advertisement, citing a lack of local Indigenous and multi-cultural representation.

Darumbal and South Sea Islander Rockhampton woman, Amy McQuire, was one of those who took to Facebook and Twitter to criticise the video.

"I think the Rockhampton Regional Council might actually believe the White Australia Policy worked judging from the blinding whiteness of their latest tourism ad," she said on social media.

"What a whitewash."

Rockhampton Regional Council immediately responded on Twitter.

"We have now taken this video down," the post said.

"You are right and we should not be promoting the Rockhampton Region without celebrating the Darumbal people, the area's long history and our diverse community.

"We apologise and we will do better."

Here's the video. 


Vote below.

What do you think of Rockhampton's tourism campaign?

This poll ended on 12 June 2018.

Current Results

There is not enough cultural diversity in the ad.


This is political correctness taken too far.


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

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