Plan for equal opportunities

Kate FieldingSouth Western Times
Bunbury City councillor Murray Cook and Aboriginal leader Troy Bennell discuss a Reconciliation Action Plan for the region.
Camera IconBunbury City councillor Murray Cook and Aboriginal leader Troy Bennell discuss a Reconciliation Action Plan for the region. Credit: Kate Fielding / South Western Times

Bunbury City Council could follow in the unifying footsteps of South Regional TAFE with an action plan focusing on Aboriginal employment and services.

The council last week accepted a request from councillor Murray Cook for an investigation into the feasibility and value of Bunbury having a Reconciliation Action Plan.

Cr Cook said after attending the launch of TAFE’s new reconciliation plan last month and doing some further research, he thought it was appropriate the council also consider the concept.

He said a plan would “fit very sweetly” under a treaty previously signed by the council and a plaque signed and installed near the Bunbury Wildlife Park.

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“It will be a general recognition by council that there are actions to be carried out,” Cr Cook said.

“The reconciliation plan could include a mix of things, but mainly employment and services.

“Many local governments around Australia have developed plans to demonstrate their commitment to giving all community members the same opportunities to develop through employment and personal development.”

The existing plaque acknowledges a commitment by the council to Noongar people and was signed in 1994 by then Mayor Dr Ern Manea and then city manager Gary Brennan.

It also has several signatures on behalf of the Aboriginal community, including well-known Bunbury Aboriginal leader Troy Bennell’s grandmother.

Mr Bennell has welcomed the latest plan, saying it would further unify the community and complement the work people were already doing.

“There’s a lot of significant people on that plaque and if we can honour them in some way then that would be great,” Mr Bennell said.

“If their names are on there, they must’ve known what they were doing.

“We’d love to see this and using this which is already here.”

He said he hoped the entire South West region would get involved in similar plans.

“Because we don’t just come from Bunbury, we come from all over, but this is where we are now,” he said.

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