Albury prides itself on being a diverse multicultural community with a strong connection to our First Nations heritage. AlburyCity is an active supporter of reconciliation, endorsing our first Reconciliation Action Plan in June 2022.
Reflecting on the recent Voice to Parliament referendum outcome, I'm drawn back to the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and our clear focus on continuing to build Respect, Relationships, Opportunities and Good Governance with our Aboriginal community.
Our own dialogue process is currently underway, with nominations now closed for our AlburyCity Aboriginal Advisory Committee. The committee will provide input towards Council decision-making that impacts our Aboriginal community and I look forward to working with the members once the committee is established.
Respect must also relate to how we undertake key events on our city's calendar each year. This includes our Australia Day activities, which in the past have included civic events such as the Albury Awards and Australian Citizenship Ceremony, although these have seen reduced participation over recent years and have been held on a very challenging day for our Aboriginal community.
Therefore, a few changes are proposed for these activities.
The 2023 Albury Awards will be bigger and better, with even more categories to encapsulate the brilliant talent across the varied demographics and industries in our community. To make it a celebration that truly recognises the valuable contributions made by those nominated, the finalists will be acknowledged at a special gala event at the Albury Entertainment Centre on 19 January 2024.
On Australia Day 2024, the community will be invited to enjoy the 26 January national public holiday, with family-friendly activities at Noreuil Park between 10am – 3pm.
The first 2024 Citizenship Ceremony will be held on 29 January at the Albury Entertainment Centre, aligning with our ceremonies for the rest of the year which are generally held on the last Monday of March, May, July, September and November. The Australian Government is now allowing improved flexibility with timing of these events, where the first ceremony can be held 3 days either side of Australia Day to support increased access and participation.
We’ll come back to you after this revised week of activities for your feedback on the new approach. Consultation will involve the broader community and targeted community groups, including our Aboriginal community, through a variety of means such as meetings, pop-ups, surveys, workshops, yarning circles and online surveys.
Thank you for your continuing interest and support for AlburyCity as we continue our Reconciliation journey, walking together with Respect for our Aboriginal community.