A Memorandum of Understanding between the Taungurung people and Strathbogie Shire Council was officially signed and adopted in 2021.
The MoU with the Taungurung Land and Waters Council (TLaWC) will ensure compliance with the following legislation, reducing Council’s risk exposure and most importantly strengthening the relationship with first peoples, and the Traditional Owners of Taungurung Country:
- Native Title Act 1993 (Commonwealth)
- Traditional Owner Settlement Act 2010 (State)
- Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act 2006 (State)
In addition, the MoU recognises Australia’s (and therefore Council’s) obligations arising out of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In the spirit of reconciliation and partnership, the MoU will build practical and mutually respectful and beneficial connections between Council and the TLaWC.
The following principals underpin the MoU:
- The Taungurung people are acknowledged as the first peoples, and Traditional Owners of Taungurung Country
- The arrival of non-aboriginal people to Taungurung Country brought massive change to the landscape and way of life of the Taungurung people
- The Council desires to address the past and embrace the process of reconciliation
- TLaWC and the Council are committed to working together to support the Taungurung people’s self-determination
- The Council respect, and hold in strong regard the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage, traditions, customs and beliefs of the Taungurung people
- The parties agree that improvements in Aboriginal participation, health and wellbeing outcomes will realise long term benefits for the community as a whole
Uluru Statement of the Heart
In March 2019, Strathbogie Shire Council endorsed six recommendations that supported the sentiments contained in the Uluru Statement from the Heart, the process for Aboriginal recognition and reform of the Constitution and a referendum to enshrine a First Nations Voice to Federal Parliament.
Council resolved to advocate on behalf of its community to promote the need for these processes to provide the Aboriginal community the opportunity to be heard and have discussions about what recognition means for them.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart is a powerful piece of work outlining the dispossession and disparity experienced by our First Nations People. It was gathered through a large collaborative process of Aboriginal people who came together at the 2017 National Constitutional Convention.
The move was welcomed by Taungurung Lands and Water Council Chief Executive Officer, Matthew Burns, who said the decision “shows great leadership which we hope will pave the way for other local municipalities to follow Strathbogie’s lead”.