Reconciliation Action Plan 2013/2014 - Townsville City Council ...

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Reconciliation Action Plan 2013/2014 - Townsville City Council ...

Reconciliation

Action Plan

2013/2014


Message from the Mayor

In 2008, the Australian Government

apologised for the mistreatment of

Indigenous people, for the laws and

policies of successive Parliaments and

governments, especially the removal of

children from their families.

This acknowledgement of Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ grief,

suffering and loss was an important

development in the move towards

reconciliation.

It also called on governments at all levels

to formalise their efforts to close the gap in

disadvantage between Indigenous and non-

Indigenous Australians.

In Townsville, a land that once belonged

solely to the Bindal and Wulgurukaba

peoples, council has been working towards

reconciliation since the 1970s, with

initiatives such as dedicated employment

strategies to strengthen our engagement

with Indigenous people.

Aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders now

comprise more than six per cent of our

community.

We are more determined than ever

to incorporate these people into the

governance and daily life of our city, by

strengthening with Indigenous people our

relationships, respect and opportunities.

Development of our Reconciliation Action

Plan has involved consultation with

staff across our organisation, including

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff

and stakeholders.

Our Plan identifies actions, timelines

and targets for relationships, respect and

opportunities. We commit to reporting to

Reconciliation Australia each year on the

progress of our Reconciliation Action Plan.

Ultimately, we plan that Indigenous people

will enjoy the same social and economic

opportunities as all other residents of

Townsville.

I am pleased to endorse this Reconciliation

Action Plan for Townsville and I encourage

all people of our city to advance

reconciliation.

Cr Jenny Hill

Mayor of Townsville


Contents

1. Introduction 03

1.1 Townsville Background and History 03

1.2 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Population 03

2. Our Vision 05

3. Our Business 06

4. Our Commitment 07

5. Our Journey Towards a Reconciliation Action Plan 08

6. Implementation of the Reconciliation Action Plan 2013/14 09

7. Methodology 10

8. Priority Areas 11

8.1 Respect 11

8.2 Relationships 14

8.3 Opportunities 15

9. Reporting Timelines 15

10. Acknowledgements 17

reconciliation action plan 2013/2014

01


Message from the CEO

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

comprise 6.1 per cent of the Townsville

population, a significant portion of our

prosperous and vibrant city.

We are committed to recognising, promoting

and protecting the rights, interests and

wellbeing of our region’s traditional owners

– the Bindal and Wulgurukaba peoples.

Since the late 1970s, Townsville as a city

has been working towards improving the

personal, social and cultural outcomes of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

In that time, we have made important steps

towards reconciliation; most notably, in

the 1980s, we adopted more inclusive

employment strategies.

This resulted in the employment of a

dedicated Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander Liaison Officer, a first for local

government in Queensland.

In 2011, at the NAIDOC luncheon, I gave

my personal commitment that Townsville

City Council would draft and adopt a

Reconciliation Action Plan.

The resulting document seeks to formalise

and further our city’s relationship with

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

community and to build opportunities.

We can do this by involving Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander people in the planning

and provision of our services and facilities.

I trust that this Reconciliation Action Plan

serves our city well by identifying priority

areas and ultimately manifesting our

goodwill as clear and meaningful actions.

A better understanding is for the benefit of

us all.

Ray Burton

CEO – Townsville City Council

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander people comprise 6.1

per cent of the Townsville population...”

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action plan 2013/2014


1. Introduction

A Reconciliation Action Plan provides the

Townsville City Council with a documented

framework, to ensure that issues and

priorities which have been identified by

the Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander community are addressed in a

coordinated manner. The Reconciliation

Action Plan 2013/14 is a reflection of those

identified issues specific to the local

Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander community.

The Reconciliation Action Plan 2013/14

specifies the vision of the Townsville City

Council in relation to the local Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander community, and

includes a number of priority areas, goals,

actions and initiatives.

Through the implementation of the plan,

Townsville City Council aims to:

>> stimulate and strengthen relationships

within the community

>> respect and give recognition to the

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

community

>> ensure inclusion of the Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander community

>> provide clear direction for council’s

Strategic Plans

>> have local determination to accept

change

>> strengthen municipal leadership and

good governance

>> enhance cultural awareness across the

whole of council, and

>> recognise the contribution of Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the

community as a whole, to a secure a

quality lifestyle and to provide input into

relevant council issues.

1.1 Townsville Background

and History

Townsville was the name adopted by

the Queensland Government when the

township was surveyed in 1865 and

declared a municipality in 1866 after an

employee of Robert Towns named the

location after him. The Thuringowa Division

was formed soon after, under the Divisional

Boards Act 1879.

The new City of Townsville was formed in

2008, when the city councils of Townsville

and Thuringowa were amalgamated. Our

local government area covers 3,736 square

kilometres (0.2 per cent of the total area of

the State of Queensland).

The Ross River flows from the foothills of

the Hervey and Mount Stuart Ranges to its

outlet in Cleveland Bay, where the Central

Business District skyline is dominated by the

distinctive Castle Hill and Magnetic Island

which is just eight kilometres offshore.

Townsville is the largest city in North

Queensland, and one of the fastest growing

cities in the state in terms of population.

As at 30 June 2010, the Queensland

Government’s estimated population of

Townsville City residents was 185,768

people, or 4.1 per cent of the state’s

population. Townsville’s population in 2031

is projected to be 270,500 people, and will

account for 4.3 per cent of Queensland’s

total population.

1.2 Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islander Population

Traditional owners, the Bindal and

Wulgurukaba peoples, are the first known

people to have lived in the Townsville City

area. Captain James Cook mentioned the

region in 1770.

reconciliation action plan 2013/2014

03


At the time of the 2011 Census, there were

10,702 persons in Townsville City Local

Government Area who stated they were of

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin.

These persons made up 6.1 per cent of the

total population.

Of the 10,702 persons who stated they were of

Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin:

>> 7,800 persons stated they were of

Aboriginal origin

>> 1,727 persons stated they were of Torres

Strait Islander origin, and

>> 1,176 persons stated they were of both

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander origin.

In this region 10.9 per cent of the Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander population were

aged 14 years or younger, compared with 88.3

per cent of the non-Indigenous population.

Of the total Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander population, 0.16 per cent were aged

65 years or over, compared with 4.4 percent for

the non-Indigenous population.

2011 Census of Population and Housing. Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander Peoples (Indigenous) Profile Townsville LGA – ABS 2011.

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action plan 2013/2014


2. Our Vision

“...the rights, interests and

wellbeing of Aboriginal and

“To have a prosperous, vibrant, tropical

city where the rights, interests and

wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islander people are promoted

and protected along with the rest

of the community. At the same time,

acknowledging and celebrating

their contributions to the

Townsville community.”

Townsville City Council Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander Policy 322.

To this end, Townsville City Council is

committed to the process by which the

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

community, including community

organisations, can be involved in the

planning and provision of services and

facilities. Council is also committed to the

personal, social and cultural development of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

within the Townsville local government area.

Torres Strait Islander people are

promoted and protected...”

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3. Our Business

“...Council’s business is

to supply services and

infrastructure to residents

under the Queensland Local

Government Act 2009.”

Townsville City Council is the local

government authority which administers to

the local government area of Townsville City

and council’s business is to supply services

and infrastructure to local residents under

the Queensland Local Government Act

2009. Council acknowledges and respects

the Traditional Owners and Custodians

of the City of Townsville, the Bindal and

Wulgurukaba peoples.

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4. Our Commitment

“...work towards giving our

Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander population the same

opportunities and benefits enjoyed

by the wider community.”

Townsville City Council makes a

commitment to work in partnership with

our community to build on reconciliation.

This will help to work towards giving

our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

population the same opportunities and

benefits enjoyed by the wider community.

Council acknowledges and celebrates

the contribution of the local Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander community,

including traditional owner groups Bindal

and Wulgurukaba. Council is committed to

developing an inclusive, vibrant and healthy

community that supports and respects

our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

peoples and cultures.

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5. Our Journey Towards a

Reconciliation Action Plan

Townsville is a major regional city in

Queensland, and Townsville City Council

has been at the forefront of Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander community

development and reconciliation for

many years. The Townsville City Council

Reconciliation Action Plan, is an important

step in providing direction and outcomes

for future Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander community development.

It was not until the late 1970’s that council,

in partnership with interested local

community members, began to formally

address critical needs of the unemployed

and homeless – an issue that greatly

affected the indigenous community. As a

result, strategic planning for government

funding for locally managed services

specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islanders began.

In 1980, Townsville City Council placed

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

community development work students

in council’s Community Services

Department. In 1982, a partnership

with the Commonwealth Department

of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Affairs created 10 positions across council

specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islanders, one of which was the Aboriginal

and Torres Strait Islander Liaison Officer,

retitled to Community Development

Officer. This position was the first of its

kind for Queensland local government.

“...ensuring Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islander children have the

same life opportunities as other

children in Australia.”

The strengthening of Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islander community development

has been ongoing ever since, building on

reconciliation for the whole community.

The Reconciliation Action Plan program

was launched by Reconciliation Australia

in July 2006. The Reconciliation Australia

Local Government Reconciliation Action

Plan Adviser met with Community Services

Section in January 2011 and staff outlined

Reconciliation Australia’s role in the

Reconciliation Action Plan program as part

of the COAG “Closing the Gap” Agreement.

The Agreement turns good intentions into

action by encouraging and supporting

organisations to engage within their sphere

of influence in a national effort to close

the 17-year gap in life expectancy between

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

and other Australians.

The framework of the Reconciliation Action

Plan 2013/14 covers the activities that

council knows can make a difference:

building good relationships; respecting

the special contribution of Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander peoples to Australia;

and ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander children have the same life

opportunities as other children in Australia.

This framework will examine the links

between actions undertaken through the

Reconciliation Action Plan 2013/14, and

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Strategic Action Plan.

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action plan 2013/2014


6. Implementation of the

Reconciliation Action Plan 2013/14

The Townsville City Council Reconciliation

Action Plan 2013/14 provides a framework

to guide council’s work with the local

community by outlining three key priority

areas for the Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islander community – Respect,

Relationships and Opportunities. Each of

these priorities are underpinned by key

specific goals and strategies for action.

The Reconciliation Action Plan 2013/14

will be implemented for an initial two year

period, with the option to recommit to a

Reconciliation Action Plan that extends over

a longer period.

The implementation of the Townsville

City Council Reconciliation Action Plan

2013/14 will ensure that partnerships with

community stakeholders will grow and

develop to build capacity and support and

respond to identified priority areas. The

activities and initiatives outlined within

the Plan have been identified through a

significant engagement process involving

over 60 stakeholders, the majority of whom

are from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander community.

In the development and delivery of the

Reconciliation Action Plan 2013/14,

council will utilise positive and culturally

appropriate communication that builds

on trust and an understanding of the

needs of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander community, while taking into

consideration council’s role and legislative

capacity as a Local Government Authority.

To this end, council acknowledges that:

>> All residents are valued equally,

regardless of ethnic origin.

>> The dignity and unique contribution

of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

people within the local community is

recognised.

>> That Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islanders affected by physical, economic

and/or social disadvantage, have a right

to community support which respects

their dignity and decision making ability.

Council also acknowledges a high priority

must be given to the process of community

development under the following principles:

>> A concern with the affairs of

communities.

>> A close involvement by community

members in the activities and decisions

of the community.

>> The encouragement of community selfreliance

through the mobilisation of

local resources.

>> The achievement of objectives locally

set or agreed to within the context of

collaborative needs-based planning.

“...identified through a significant

engagement process involving over

60 stakeholders...”

reconciliation action plan 2013/2014

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7. Methodology

Townsville City Council used a multi-faceted

and inclusive community engagement

methodology to inform the development

of the Reconciliation Action Plan 2013/14.

The objective of the methodology was to

achieve rich community engagement that

adheres to the principles outlined within

the Townsville City Council Community

Engagement Policy and which reflect an

understanding of the values and aspirations

of the Townsville Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander community.

The process included both broad-based

and targeted engagement and multiple

techniques relevant to the specific targeted

group. Workshops involving community

members and other levels of government

were held, and from these, a Reconciliation

Action Plan working group was established,

and a leadership group appointed.

Townsville City Council believes that

fostering democratic representation, social

inclusion and meaningful community

engagement greatly assists in the delivery

of high quality local government. Council

is committed to achieving inclusive and

effective community engagement.

Council’s Community Engagement Policy is

based upon the following principles:

>> Provision of inclusive opportunities for

informed community involvement in

council’s decision making

>> Ensuring that all groups in the

community are provided with

opportunities to engage with Townsville

City Council

>> Commitment to the provision of

culturally appropriate processes

to encourage increased access by

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

community to participate in discussions

about council initiatives

>> Adherence to an organisational

Community Engagement Policy and

Framework to achieve meaningful

community engagement

>> To foster a council-wide culture of

community engagement.

The Townsville City Council Reconciliation

Action Plan 2013/14 outlines actions that

respond to the priority issues identified by

the community and key stakeholders and

is a key step in the commitment of “Closing

the Gap” for Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander disadvantage.

Council has a strong commitment to provide

continued support and assistance to our

local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

community and council strives to make a

positive contribution towards equality with

the broader community while improving the

quality of life for Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander residents in Townsville.

Council will be proactive in the promotion

and the advocacy for equity and fairness

within the community, to enable residents

to access services and to participate and

contribute to their full potential regardless

of age, gender, ethnicity or ability. Council

will focus on developing a community which

values its diversity, through acknowledging

and celebrating the dignity and contribution

of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

people within the Townsville community.

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8. Priority Areas

Townsville City Council, in consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

community, has developed the following goals, strategies, actions and initiatives to

develop the Townsville City Council Reconciliation Action Plan.

The identified priority areas provide a scope for specific goals that are further detailed by

strategies, actions and initiatives. As they are undertaken, these individual initiatives will

allow the Townsville City Council and community to build on developing better relationships

with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community. This will be achieved

by creating opportunities through respect and culturally appropriate engagement. The

implementation of the strategies below will ensure that the specified goals are achieved.

8.1 Respect

Goal: To increase the recognition and awareness of the traditional owner

groups of the Townsville local government area to the wider population.

Strategy 1: Acknowledge Bindal and Wulgurukaba as the traditional custodians of

Townsville City.

responsibility >>

Marcoms/Events

and Protocol

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Acknowledgement of Bindal and Wulgurukaba as the

traditional owners of Townsville on appropriate signage in

the city.

>> Welcome to Country and formal acknowledgement of the

traditional owner groups at all formal occasions of the

Townsville City Council.

responsibility >>

Marcoms

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Include traditional owner group information on publications

and in media including social media (eg. Facebook and

Twitter).

responsibility >>

Marcoms

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> A statement will be placed on the homepage of council’s

public website acknowledging the traditional owners of

Townsville.

responsibility >>

Human Resources

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Include traditional owner group information to council

orientation for all new employees.

reconciliation action plan 2013/2014

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Strategy 2: To acknowledge and promote to the residents and visitors of Townsville

an appreciation, understanding and respect of the culture and cultural differences of

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

responsibility >>

Community

Development/

Marcoms

actions >>

>> To support and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

cultural events to the wider community, including NAIDOC

Week, Mabo Day and Reconciliation Week.

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

responsibility >>

Events and Protocol

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Include Welcome to Country and acknowledgement of

traditional owners at council events and functions.

responsibility >>

Community

Development

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Acknowledge and respect traditional culture, its values

and the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

elders to the community.

responsibility >>

Community

Development

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Work more cohesively with external organisations, both

government and non-government, to form partnerships

promoting and highlighting Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander events and activities.

responsibility >>

Community

Development

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Recognise and acknowledge significant cultural

achievements from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

community and promote these through all forms of media.

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reconciliation

action plan 2013/2014


Strategy 3: Culturally appropriate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community

Development.

responsibility >>

Community

Development

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> All council programs for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander community are delivered within a culturally

appropriate community development framework that builds

the capacity of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

community.

responsibility >>

Community

Development

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Develop and coordinate culturally appropriate capacity

building programs in conjunction with the community,

community organisations and the business sector.

Strategy 4: Educate and support staff across the whole of council to better

understand and implement culturally appropriate practices.

responsibility >>

Human Resources

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural

Awareness Training into orientation programs for new staff

and encourage current staff to voluntarily undertake such

training.

reconciliation action plan 2013/2014

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8.2 Relationships

Goal: Develop and build the social and professional networks with the

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

Strategy 1: Develop and implement cohesive linkages with government and nongovernment,

organisations to enable positive outcomes for the Aboriginal and Torres

Strait islander community.

responsibility >>

Community

Development

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Develop linkages and partnerships with organisations

for the planning and provision of activities concerning

reconciliation.

>> Active participation with local networks including Townsville

Closing The Gap Forums.

>> Promote and plan council services to enable participation by

the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

>> Work in partnership with other levels of government

and non-government organisations to deliver culturally

appropriate initiatives for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander community.

Strategy 1: RAP working group will continue to monitor the implementation of the RAP

and report on its progress.

responsibility >>

RAP working group

actions >>

>> Meetings scheduled 6 Monthly

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

Strategy 1: Celebrate NRW by providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander employees and other employees to build relationships.

responsibility >>

RAP working group

actions >>

>> Organise at least one internal event each year.

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

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reconciliation

action plan 2013/2014


8.3 Opportunities

Goal: To include the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in

the economic development of Townsville.

Strategy 1: Ensure the council’s workforce is inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander people across all areas.

responsibility >>

Human Resources

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> To develop and implement a culturally appropriate

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy.

Strategy 2: Update, promote and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

programs and initiatives through all networks both internally and externally.

responsibility >>

Community

Development

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Council will review all existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander programs and initiatives in consultation with

the Community Consultation Group, Inclusive Community

Advisory Group, Diversity and Equity Reference Group and

the local indigenous community.

Strategy 3: Promotion and support of opportunities which encourage Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander enterprises to tender for business with council.

responsibility >>

Procurement

Tenders /

Community

Development

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Review tendering process in consultation with the

Community Consultation Group to ensure all businesses and

enterprises are able to compete for council business.

>> Promote to Indigenous business and working groups when

tenders available for Indigenous-specific projects.

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9. Reporting Timelines

Report on Reconciliation Action Plan progress to key internal and community

stakeholders

responsibility >>

Community

Development

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Internal reporting six monthly to relevant committees of

council.

>> Six monthly reporting to Reconciliation Action Plan

Leadership team, Diversity and Equity Reference Group.

Review Reconciliation Action Plan progress annually

responsibility >>

Community

Development

actions >>

>> Annual Report to Reconciliation Australia.

>> Stakeholders including Community Consultation Group.

timeline >>

Feb 2014–Feb 2015

Recommit to the Reconciliation Action Plan program

responsibility >>

Community

Development

timeline >>

Feb 2015

actions >>

>> Work with our Community Consultation group and

Reconciliation Australia to develop a new Reconciliation

Action Plan.

All above actions from council will be overseen by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander Community Development Officer and the Reconciliation Action Plan

Leadership Team.

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10. Acknowledgements

The Townsville City Council Reconciliation

Action Plan 2013/14 was developed from

the information provided by the community

through the consultation and engagement

process.

Council would like to thank and

acknowledge the expertise and input,

advice, comments and thoughts shared

by individuals, groups and organisations

for assisting to shape and develop the

Reconciliation Action Plan with particular

acknowledgements to the following

stakeholders who contributed specific

information:

>> Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

elders

>> Community Consultation Groups

>> Diversity and Equity Reference Group

>> Townsville City Council Human Resources

>> Members of the Aboriginal and Torres

Strait Islander Yarnin Circle

>> State and Federal government departments

>> Ms Shirley Collins (Artist)

Cover Artwork: by Shirley Collins

Utilising the dot painting styles of

traditional Aboriginal culture, the artwork

portrays the aspects of both land and sea.

The Brolga and Kapok flower, symbols of the

land of the Townsville area, are joined with

the turtle and dugongs as representation of

the Torres Strait Islander peoples and the

sea and their uniting together to form an

attachment to Townsville.

Kapok and Brolga

The Kapok tree is native to the Townsville

region and is recognisable from its vibrant

display of yellow flowers. Just like the

Kapok, Townsville is a vibrant, energetic city

being recognised throughout Australia.

Brolgas are gregarious creatures gathering

into large flocks, which appear to be many

self-contained individual groups, rather

than a single social unit, representative

of Townsville- a community made up of a

number of different groups.

reconciliation action plan 2013/2014

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