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Byron Shire
February 27, 2024

First Nations Voice in Council moves closer

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Byron Council will aim to give local First Nations people a role in its decision-making process by September 2024, echoing the newly-elected federal government’s pledge to honour the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

At last week’s meeting, councillors voted unanimously in favour of a motion to create a ‘First Nations Voice to Council’.

‘The new federal government has committed to supporting and implementing the Uluru Statement from the Heart,’ said Independent councillor, Mark Swivel, who moved the motion last Thursday. ‘This creates momentum for constructive change embedded in our constitution and a national project of regeneration and healing’.

‘Local councils with their immediate community engagement and responsibility for land use are uniquely well-positioned to facilitate the better integration of Indigenous communities into our processes of government.’

Exactly how the local Indigenous community would be involved in Council decision-making has not been decided.

However, the Council has endorsed an advisory body model, with the structure, terms of reference and membership to be determined through consultation with local Indigenous community stakeholders. One possible role the advisory body could undertake is reviewing all Council policies and decisions for their impact on the local Indigenous community.

Councillors would then be required to consider the recommendations made by the Voice to Council and respond to questions raised.

Last week’s motion draws directly from a resolution that Byron Council successfully moved at the recent Local Government NSW Special Conference.

This resolution, known as ‘resolution 39’, calls on councils to develop a kit in partnership with traditional custodians so public forums can be held to inform the public about the Uluru Statement from the Heart.


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7 COMMENTS

  1. If they are going to have a greater proportion of control over the government, they must be made to pay a greater proportion of government expenses.
    No representation without taxation!

  2. Christian please go to the Library and read Henry Reynolds Book “The Frontier Wars” ..from there check out Indigenous massacres, Stolen Children, the Intervention Deaths in Custody and so on. You will learn how much land has been stolen by Colonisers. In fact we Settlers, OWE IN RETRIBUTION ZILLIONS OF $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ to First Nation people.

    Bravo Byron Council. You are now entering the progressive world. Together we can create a better world for future generations and Mark Swivel please keep rattling cages. Thank you all.

    • So the Ukrainians owe Russia ZILLIONS OF $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ for squatting on their traditional land? Most of Europe and even North America is traditionally Russian, and was taken from them through conquest or commerce.

      If you want to institute different levels of citizenship, which is called a caste system, and put Europeans at the bottom, we will start acting accordingly. If you want them to be the Hutus, we can be the Tutsis. Let’s see how that works out for them.

  3. It was illegal under British Parliamentary Law, English Royal Law and International Law, to occupy an already populated land. The Terra Nulius claim is a legal defect in immigrant ‘ownership’, and all the money generated from use or mineral extraction is from Aboriginals land that is illegally occupied. But here we are 200 years later, and we need a reconciled result so that we can all move together as fellow countrymen and women, but no one, apart from Christian Steinberg, is talking about money (except for stolen wages that were never payed). Greater payments for representation? How about back payments from the illegal use and mineral extraction from what is still Aboriginal land. In terms of moving forward we still need to get our heads around the current differences in how Aboriginal peoples ownership is treated compared to us Australians of immigrant backgrounds. One current example is the proposal to flood an Aboriginal graveyard and religious/cultural heritage site for a new dam at Dunoon – under white peoples law, if you have a lawfuly enacted business, such as a cafe, and a Council changes the zoning to one that prohibits cafes, you have Existing Use Rights to carry on with a cafe. The Aboriginal cemetery at Dunoon was lawfully enacted and put in place by the then lawful owners governance body in place before white settlement ( the widjabul whyabul people) but does not have Existing Use Rights under existing Australians of immigrant backgrounds Law. Its time that our Laws are moved to apply equally to the rights of both Black and White people, but yes that does mean consideration of the ownership pre the illegal British occupation

    • If it wasn’t Terra Nulius, then it was straight conquest, and is still lawful. Most countries are on other peoples traditional land. Check it out.
      They own us for using all our technology, and for us doubling their life expectancy. Remember Monty Python “What have the Romans ever done for us?”
      Besides, if people keep insisting the Aboriginals share a country with us, within a few short centuries, they will cease to exist. That’s what happened to the Picts, the original owners of Great Britain, and is happening to the Celts, who were the second owners of Great Britain. We don’t count the Neanderthals who owned Great Britain before the Picts arrived.

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