The Eden Aboriginal Land Council was among three local land councils to sign their third Memorandum of Understanding with Bega Valley Shire Council last week.
Ben Cruse from the Eden ALC joined Lorraine Naylor of Merrimans ALC and Graham Moore of Bega ALC, to sign the MoU with Mayor Bill Taylor and general manager Leanne Barnes in the Bega Valley Regional Gallery on Wednesday.
The event was held to formally sign off on the MoU, which has been developed in consultation with all three Land Councils, and was adopted by Council in May 2014.
Through the MoU, all parties commit to working together to improve the social and economic outcomes for Aboriginal people in the Bega Valley Shire.
Cr Taylor said the original MoU had evolved as an acknowledgement of Council Sorry Day in 2000, as a form of recognition of all the people of the Shire.
The first was signed on behalf of the community by then-Mayor David Hede, and the second by then-Mayor Tony Allen.
“The whole concept of recognition is not about where people came from but where we are going together,” Cr Taylor said.
“It’s all about the cooperative way we evolve as a community – we are all in this together and it’s the future that holds our attention.
“We will build on these foundations on behalf of all residents in the Shire.
Mr Cruse congratulated and thanked Bega Valley Shire Council for being the first local government council in Australia to enter such an agreement with an Aboriginal Land Council.
He said his memories went back to the 1960s when there was a lot of racism but things had improved since them when the first steps were taken towards reconciliation.
Ms Naylor said she was very pleased to be part of the ceremony and glad that the Land Councils and the Shire Council had come together in this way, while Mr Moore said the MoU acknowledged that the community was working together for reconciliation and moving forward in a very positive way.
“This is a work in progress acknowledging the importance of reconciliation,” Mr Moore said.
Council’s general manager Leanne Barnes said it was important that the outcomes of the agreement were real and achievable for Council and the Land Councils.
“I’m extremely proud to be part of an ongoing legacy of understanding and reconciliation between Council and the Local Aboriginal Land Councils,” Ms Barnes said.
“This MoU continues to focus on real goals and achievable solutions, which can only result in positive outcomes for the entire community.”