17 June 2021
Bega Valley Shire Council will host a special community event on 25 June to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the first signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) as the formal partnership between local Aboriginal people and Council.
“On 13 June 2001, Council, Bega, Eden and Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Councils (LALCs), and other representatives of the local Aboriginal community signed an MOU to ensure commitment to cross-cultural relationships and increased opportunities for Aboriginal community members through improved cultural understanding and collaboration,” Mayor Russell Fitzpatrick said.
“In real terms this includes working in partnership to increase opportunities in cultural tourism, identifying and appropriately managing lands of cultural significance, identifying development opportunities for Aboriginal lands to achieve social and economic growth and ensuring Aboriginal culture and heritage are considered in all construction, development and civil works projects across the shire.
“There is also a focus on young Aboriginal people, reconciliation, addressing social, economic or cultural disadvantage and the ongoing review of the MOU by a representative Council Committee.”
Cr Fitzpatrick said there have been many achievements over the past 20 years of the MOU which the LALCs and Council are proud to commemorate.
“These include the Koori Heritage Stories (pictured), a record of the histories of more than 40 Koori elders from the Bega Valley Shire, and an Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Landscape Map of areas with a high probability of Aboriginal cultural heritage values across the shire.”
Monaroo Elder and Chairperson of the Eden Local Aboriginal Land Council, BJ Cruse encourages everyone to come along and support the process.
The 20th MOU anniversary event will include a Welcome to Country by Aunty Colleen Dixon, a Smoking Ceremony by Uncle Warren Foster and the Gulaga Dancers, performances by the Djinama Yilaga Choir, cake cutting and an exhibition covering the 20 Years of Achievements.
The event will be held in the Bega Valley Commemorative Civic Centre from 10.30am to 1.30pm on Friday 25 June. A free lunch will be provided by the Bega Lions Club.
“Everyone across the shire is invited to help celebrate the rich culture of our First Nations people and what we have achieved together over the last 20 years,” Cr Fitzpatrick said.