Good progress on Fremantle's reconciliation journey
The City of Fremantle has made good progress towards delivering the measures outlined in its Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan in the year since the plan was adopted.
The plan was officially launched in July 2019 after being adopted by the council and endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.
It was developed in consultation with Fremantle’s Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, local Elders and Aboriginal people and other stakeholders through a series of workshops and meetings held over an 18 month period.
The WRAP outlines 19 actions and 106 deliverable outcomes to be achieved by 2022, including establishing a strategy and agreed representation for Aboriginal stakeholder input.
The actions range from symbolic measures such as exploring the viability of a ‘treaty’ or equivalent agreement and identifying the opportunities for co-naming locations, streets and parks to practical steps around increasing Aboriginal employment and the procurement of Aboriginal services.
Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt said despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, 90 per cent of the deliverables in the plan are on track or have already been completed.
“The City has a long-standing commitment to fostering relationships with Aboriginal people dating back to the formative Policy for Respect, Recognition and Conciliation with Aboriginal people which was developed and endorsed by the council in 2000,” Mayor Pettitt said.
“The meetings and workshops we had over the 18 months to put the Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan together were very constructive and powerful experiences that I think brought us all closer together and improved the shared understanding of our history.
“But the finalisation of the WRAP wasn’t the end of our reconciliation journey, it was just the beginning.
“I’m really pleased that in the 12 months since the WRAP was adopted we’ve been able to maintain that momentum and make some really meaningful progress towards genuine reconciliation with our Aboriginal community.”
Since the adoption of the WRAP the City of Fremantle has established two groups to provide representation and consult with the Aboriginal community.
The Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan Reference Group was established to track the progress of the implementation of the WRAP and provide feedback and accountability. An Elders group was also established to meet twice a year with the Mayor, Councillors and the City’s senior management to further build relationships.
The City is on track to achieve an employment target of 4 per cent of staff being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people, with six Aboriginal trainees employed as permanent staff. The City has also developed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander procurement strategy.
Aboriginal facilitators have been engaged to conduct classes and share culture and knowledge through the six Nyoongar Seasons at the Walyalup Aboriginal Cultural Centre and enrolments for Nyoongar language classes have increased.
Cross cultural competence and cultural awareness training is being conducted by City staff and councillors and cultural awareness has been incorporated into the induction process for new staff.
The council has endorsed the name Walyalup Civic Centre for the City’s new administration building and library, with meeting rooms also to be allocated Nyoongar names.
The City has also supported activities for significant cultural dates and key celebrations including NAIDOC Week, Reconciliation Week, Woylie Festival, Wardanji Festival and the Revealed Art Market, while the City’s One Day event was recognised with an Australian Government award for promoting Indigenous recognition.
To view the City of Fremantle Walyalup Reconciliation Action Plan click here.