Nationals Member for Cowper Pat Conaghan joined many Australians in a National Acknowledgement of Country on Wednesday to show respect for our nation’s Traditional Owners.

Mr Conaghan said it was part of National Reconciliation Week, which runs until next Wednesday and this year’s theme is ‘In This Together’.

“Today and the whole of this week is an opportunity for our community to think about what reconciliation means and what practical steps can be taken to build trust with and respect Indigenous Australians,” he said.

“Growing up in Kempsey, I learnt a lot from Aboriginal people and was impressed, from a young age, by their commitment and care for each other and their community.

“I decided to take part in the National Acknowledgement of Country to honour the Dunghutti, Gumbaynggirr and Birpai people on whose land I live and work.”

Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt said National Reconciliation Week drew our attention each year to the ongoing efforts to walk together with a shared purpose and to build a stronger future for all Australians.

Mr Wyatt said this week the Australian Government committed $10.8 million over three years for Reconciliation Australia to continue their valuable work to build reconciliation.

“For two decades, Reconciliation Australia has worked to improve relationships between Indigenous and other Australians, by building respect, trust and opportunities among individuals, organisations, schools and communities,” Mr Wyatt said.

“Through its Australian Reconciliation Barometer and Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program, Reconciliation Australia has provided significant momentum to empower people to build a better future for all of us.

“Tens of thousands of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are benefiting from job creation, education opportunities and business transactions created through RAP actions.”

For more information about Reconciliation Week visit reconciliation.org.au or indigenous.gov.au.

Funding strengthens local languages

Groups such as the Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation in Coffs Harbour will share in $300,000 from the NSW Nationals in Government for community groups and organisations to grow Aboriginal Language activity.

BMNAC will receive $90,000 through the 2019-20 Languages Community Investments Program. Their project “Jalayagay junyirri: continuing to speak” will complement existing Gumbaynggirr language programs and help cover gaps in revitalisation efforts. The group aims to produce 50 fluent Gumbaynggirr teachers by 2021 and launch the Gumbaynggirr Giingana (K-6) immersion school in 2022.

Acting Head of Aboriginal Affairs, Lil Gordon, said the funding will enable recipients to deliver language activities, promote the wider use of Aboriginal languages and build the capacity of the Aboriginal languages workforce sector.

“The Languages Community Investments Program reflects the NSW Government’s ongoing commitment to support First Nations people to reawaken, grow, nurture and promote Aboriginal languages by investing in languages activities across NSW,” Ms Gordon said.

“A large number of high quality applications were received for the program, which shows the importance of language and revitalisation efforts for the First Peoples of NSW.”

A total of $299,922 will support seven organisations across NSW, in seven Aboriginal language groups.