A message from the Mayor for NAIDOC Week

6 July 2022

On behalf of everyone at Waverley Council, I would like to wish the community a happy NAIDOC Week, 3-10 July.

NAIDOC Week is an opportunity to celebrate and recognise our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, cultures, achievements and people.

This year’s theme is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up! and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have a long history of turning those words into action. This week provides an opportunity for all Australians to learn more about First Nations cultures and celebrate the oldest, continuous living cultures on earth.

Almost 10 years ago, Waverley Council adopted its first Reconciliation Action Plan which received the endorsement of Reconciliation Australia and reflects our commitment to reconciliation efforts and provides opportunities for exploring innovative and creative approaches to reconciliation locally and regionally.

Our vision for reconciliation is a community where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are truly valued as the first people through respect and understanding.

We commit ourselves to respecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander sacred sites and cultural protocols and we support the right of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to self-determination.

Waverley's inclusive and tolerant community is proud to help create and nurture equitable access and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in all spheres of life.

We are especially proud to deliver the Elsa Dixon Aboriginal Employment Program for young Aboriginal trainees to undertake their certificate level qualifications in school whist gaining work experience in a local government setting.

Around 10 trainees have participated in the program at Waverley, and last week, one of those trainees, Matthew Cook, was named Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student of the Year for Central & Northern Sydney at the 2022 NSW Training Awards! Read more on our Facebook page.

Matthew is in the second year of his school-based horticulture traineeship at Waverley whilst also completing Year 12. He is a valued member of our Open Spaces team and we are so proud to see his work recognised at state level.

Waverley Council recognises the valuable contribution of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and we look forward to a future of mutual respect and harmony, and equally we recognise that there is a still a long way to go. We will continue our work with the traditional custodians of the Waverley area to ensure Aboriginal cultures are visible, respected, shared and celebrated.

Events such as NAIDOC Week sharpen focus on our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, and if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we must work together as a community.

Waverley Council is holding NAIDOC Week events throughout July and you can register for these events on our website. Our NAIDOC Week celebration at Centennial Park on Friday 8 July has unfortunately been postponed due to the horrendous weather, but we look forward to hosting the event later in the year in partnership with Randwick City and Woollahra Councils.

So happy NAIDOC Week everyone, and please, stay safe during this extreme weather, and our thoughts are with those communities affected by flooding.

Paula Masselos, Mayor of Waverley.

Waverley Council wishes to acknowledge the Bidjigal, Birrabirragal and Gadigal people, who traditionally occupied the Sydney Coast, and we pay respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders both past and present.