Welcome to Country by Bagala Traditional Owner Esther Bulumbara

Roper Gulf Regional Council launched its inaugural ‘Innovate’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) on Wednesday 15 March 2023 with Bagala Traditional Owners and elders, local councillors, staff and stakeholders in attendance.

The event was held in Barunga and began with a Welcome to Country by Traditional Owner Esther Bulumbara, followed by presentations by the Northern Territory Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Selena Uibo, Roper Gulf Regional Council Mayor, Tony Jack and CEO, Marc Gardner.

Mayor Jack said that the launch of the Council’s first RAP was a long time coming and he was proud to see it finally in place.

“This plan has been developed to help our Council and staff recognise the strong local culture and the history of our region, ensuring both are integrated into everything that we do,” Mayor Jack said.

“Over two-thirds of our staff are recognised as Indigenous Australians, and the development of this plan provides an opportunity to reflect on what changes have occurred since 2008 when our Council formed from smaller community councils, and the important journey that is still ahead of us.

“The actions in the Reconciliation Action Plan are very exciting and meaningful and we look forward to their implementation in the near future.

“On behalf of all elected members and staff, we are proud to endorse Roper Gulf Regional Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan, which is our first in history.

“It’s been a long time coming and we thank our staff, elected members, stakeholders, Cross Cultural Consultants, Reconciliation Australia and the RAP working group for putting it together.” 

The launch event was held in Barunga because of the special significance the community holds for all Australians as the location where the call for the National Treaty occurred in 1988, now known as the Barunga Statement.

The launch of the Reconciliation Action Plan was concluded with the unveiling of the document’s front cover design by Darwin-based company Moogie Down Productions.

The artwork depicts the Rainbow Serpent winding through the wards of the Roper Gulf region and ties in with the Council’s original branding story, which also symbolises the Rainbow Serpent.

Featured image: The ‘Welcome to Country’ spoken by Bagala Traditional Owner Esther Bulumbara. Image provided by Roper Gulf Regional Council.

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