Kingston Council says it has shown its “deep commitment to walk together with Australia’s First Nations peoples” by endorsing the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart.
In a statement, Council said Councillors had “unanimously voted to take this important step, and proudly shared their support in a strong sign of unity and leadership on this extremely important issue”.
Kingston Mayor, Hadi Saab will now join 38 mayors from across Australia in signing the Mayors for the Voice to Parliament Public Statement. Council says it will also help inform and raise awareness about the upcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament to encourage Kingston residents to take part.
Mayor Saab said he was proud Kingston has taken a public stand on “this crucial issue”.
“We are taking a stand at a critical time in the history of Australia and Kingston’s unanimous endorsement of the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart is a small but important way we are pushing for change,” he said.
“We proudly share this country with our First Nations peoples, the world’s oldest continuing culture, who have cared for this country for more than 60,000 years, but have endured appalling violence, dispossession, destruction of culture and exclusion from social and political decision-making.
“The time has come to accept the truths of our past and begin a new road forward in reconciling with First Nations peoples. Support for constitutional recognition for them – a voice in political decisions affecting them – is a key part of that journey.
“Council recognises everyone’s right to choose how to vote, and in the lead up to the referendum we want to ensure our community is well-informed to make their decision.”
Wattle Ward Councillor, Jenna Davey-Burns said “it is time to own the truth about who we are, and the ongoing impact of Aboriginal sovereignty being denied”.
“Aboriginal self-determination is a right of First Peoples and is vital in the path to building better life outcomes for Aboriginal peoples and communities. We need to walk this road together – truth and justice are the only way to healing,” Cr Davey-Burns said.
“The Victorian Government has made some important strides through the Yoorrook Justice Commission and Treaty process, and I am very proud of the direction our Council is moving.”
Bunjil Ward Councillor, Steve Staikos said Kingston councillors were proud to stand together as one to endorse the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart.
“This is a crucial issue in our country at the moment and we are happy to raise our collective voice in support of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members around Kingston and Australia,” Cr Staikos said.
“While some people may say this isn’t a Council matter, I would argue grassroots knowledge, participation and awareness of the upcoming referendum is vital. Council is the level of government closest to our communities and our declaration of support for the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart throws a spotlight on this issue within our municipality.
“We can’t hide from the truth about the historical and ongoing injustices our First Nations People endure and have endured and with the Voice to Parliament, a new relationship can be forged.”