A time to build trust and respect

NATIONAL Reconciliation Week is a chance to develop relationships, respect and trust between all Australians, says the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation chairman.  

Graham Atkinson, a descendant of the Dja Dja Wurrung clan, will speak at a breakfast at the Bendigo Town Hall on Tuesday - an event which marks the start of National Reconciliation Week.

"It's an opportunity to showcase and highlight important activities and events that are designed to enhance the reconciliation process between the first Australians and all other Australians," he said. 

"It's to give both the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and non-Aboriginal communities an opportunity to express their ideas and thoughts on what is being achieved through the reconciliation process.

"I think these important events are opportunities to showcase and measure the progress that is being made. 

"Some would argue we have a long way to go.

"Others may argue there have been achievements in some areas but not sufficient progress in others." 

He said the event celebrated two important anniversaries - the success of the 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision.

"The referendum was an important event where over 90 per cent of the voting population agreed to recognise the inclusion of Indigenous people in society," he said. 

"They voted to recognise Indigenous people as citizens and citizens of the country.

"The Mabo decision was also a historical event in Australian history.

"It was where the High Court recognised the native title rights of Indigenous Australians."

He said there were still many issues facing Indigenous Australians. 

"It is very hard to change community attitudes and bring about meaningful policy reform," he said.

Meanwhile a crowd of people recognised National Sorry Day in Castlemaine on Monday.

The event commemorated the Stolen Generation and marked the anniversary of the Bringing Them Home report tabled in federal parliament. 


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