Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People in the Bega Valley Shire
The Bega Valley Shire Council (the Council) acknowledges that Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants, custodians and Native Title Holders of all land and water in the Bega Valley Shire, their continued connection with it is respected. For further information on the traditional owners of the Shire please click on this link to the History of the Shire.
On Census night, 9 August 2011, Bega Valley Shire’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population was counted as 905 people, of whom 874 were Aboriginal and 17 were Torres Strait Islanders, 14 identified as both. Bega Valley’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population made up 2.8 per cent of its residents. Across NSW Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people made up 2.5 per cent of the population.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)
Through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the Council works in partnership with the Eden, Bega and Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Councils and the native title holders of the shire. The MOU provides the primary framework for Council’s work with Aboriginal communities.
The Memorandum of Understanding will be reviewed in 2012 in line with the election of each new Council. The MOU is on display in the foyer outside the Council Chambers and can be viewed here – Memorandum of Understanding
Welcome to Country
The Council, as part of the MOU has established a protocol to enable Council to recognise the Traditional Owners of the Shire at Civic events and functions. The protocol aims to seek endorsement from local Aboriginal communities for major Civic events occurring on Aboriginal land and to increase the participation of Aboriginal people in Civic events and functions. The protocol also ensures that ‘Welcome to Country’ is included in Council activities in an appropriate and respectful way.
The following wording was adopted as part of the Memorandum of Understanding. Council urges other organisations and individuals to acknowledge the traditional owners of the shire.
Response to Welcome to Country
Thank the elder for their welcome and recite the following:
‘I would like to acknowledge on behalf of …………………….., the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters of the Shire – the people of the Yuin and Monaro nations and show our respect to elders past and present.’
Acknowledgment of the Traditional Owners of the Bega Valley Shire
When no Welcome to Country has been given recite:
‘I would like to commence by acknowledging on behalf of ………….., the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters of the Shire – the people of the Yuin and Monaro nations and show our respect to elders past and present.
Council is currently recruiting to the position of Aboriginal Liaison Officer (ALO). If you would like further information on Aboriginal liaison in Council please contact Simon Schweitzer on (02) 6499 2248.
Local Aboriginal Land Councils in the Bega Valley Shire
Members of Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs) are elected representatives for Aboriginal people. The NSW Aboriginal Land Council (http://www.alc.org.au/) is the peak body for 119 LALCs in NSW. There are three LALCs in the Bega Valley Shire:
Bega Local Aboriginal Land Council
17-19 Bunyarra Drive, Bega 2550
PO Box 11, Bega NSW 2550
Phone: (02) 6492 3950
Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council
Jigamy Farm EDEN 2551
PO Box 199 EDEN NSW 2551
Phone: (02) 6496 1922
Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council
13 Umbarra Road WALLAGA LAKE 2546
PO Box 13 WALLAGA LAKE NSW 2546
Phone: (02) 4473 7288
Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) Boundaries
The boundaries for the three LALCs in the Bega Valley Shire can be accessed on the NSW Aboriginal Land Council website
If you would like further information on the Council’s work with Aboriginal communities please contact the Community Services Section on 6499 2464.