Loddon Shire Council has extended its Aboriginal Community Partnership Plan 2019-21 for a further 12 months to make up for the lack of action caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The plan was established as part of council's commitment to reconciliation.
It includes such actions as considering traditional Dja Dja Wurrung and Barapa Barapa names for new local roads, bridges and public spaces in relevant council areas and including those names on any new signage.
It also looks to implement the new 'Welcome to and Acknowledgment of Country Policy', to include reference to Traditional Owners by name.
In a report to council's April meeting, shire wellbeing officer Kate Pallister said delivering the actions contained in the plan would assist in bringing about positive change in the lives of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents.
"While it has now reached the end of its two-year term, council did not have capacity to develop a new Aboriginal Community Partnership Plan prior to the end of this term due to a number of factors," she said.
"(This includes) disruptions and service redirections resulting from (COVID-19) lockdowns, and the absence of an officer working solely in the reconciliation space."
However, she said council had made some notable progress in promoting reconciliation, particularly in the areas of procurement and training staff in cultural awareness.
In the second half of 2021, a progress report on the plan was made and a 2022 Action Plan was determined.
It outlines14 priority actions which are yet to be completed and the aim now is to deliver them by March 2023.
"The 14 items outlined within the proposed 2022 Action Plan can be achieved using existing resources and will not require additional funding," Ms Pallister said.
Cr Wendy Murphy agreed to the one-year extension of the plan.
"It's very important work being undertaken here and to extend it for another 12 months to round it out is also important and well supported," she said.
Cr Murphy said it was timely given the Yoorrook Justice Commission was now underway today which would hopefully go some way to form a treaty.
Cr Linda Jungwirth also agreed to the 12-month extension.
"I would really like to see us acknowledge Traditional Owners by name and I was very pleased to see that as one of the actions in the plan," Cr Jungwirth said.
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