|The Statement sets out the need for effective Local Government and the major challenges that Local Government faces, one of which is ‘bringing about social justice and reconciliation with Australia’s Indigenous peoples’. The Statement reaffirms Local Government’s ‘commitment to the right of all Australians to enjoy equal rights and be treated with equal respect, regardless of race, colour, creed or origin’ and supports the ‘Council of Aboriginal Reconciliation’s Vision for a united Australia, and local declarations of Reconciliation with our Indigenous peoples’.
The Statement also sets out the agreement by all Governments of Australia to ‘maintain their responsibilities to ensure the provision of a full range of local government services to Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders’, together with the need for the integration of management planning with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission.
The following Statement of Regret to the Stolen Generation is included:
‘Local Government expresses its deep and sincere regret at the hurt and distress caused by policies which forcibly removed Aboriginal children from their families and homes. It recognises that a great injustice was inflicted on Aboriginal peoples in the name of assimilation and integration and reaffirms its support for reconciliation between all Australians. The removal of Indigenous children from their families has had far reaching consequences, depriving many of contact with their people, country, language and culture. Local Government commits to making all necessary records and assistance available to aid the victims of these policies in their grief and rebuilding of their family histories and place in today’s Australia.’
Local Government recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are the original occupants of Australia and recognises the validity of Native Title. The Statement says ‘Local Government has identified a need to participate fully in the response to Native Title and are working with a range of significant groups to develop a considered response to Native Title with a primary focus on negotiated outcomes.’
The Statement also discusses issues such as: regional and economic joint management practice; finance and taxation – revenue sources; transport and infrastructure; aviation; cultural development; information services; community relations; access and equity; and cultural heritage.|