A FORMAL agreement outlining how Perth council will work with Indigenous people has been endorsed after a year-long delay caused by the McGowan government prohibiting the use of the word “treaty”.
The not-treaty was intended to patch up the council’s relationship with the Indigenous community, coming a couple of years after its heavy-handed approach to removing homeless people living at Heirisson Island/Matagarup.
The one-page document previously dubbed the “Danjoo-Treaty” was drawn up with the bridyas, the Noongar leaders on the council’s elders advisory group. It called for the council to acknowledge past injustices, commit to partnership, listen to Aboriginal voices, and make Perth a more welcoming and culturally safe environment for Aboriginal people.
It was supposed to be approved at the July 2020 meeting, the last one attended by retiring CEO Murray Jorgensen who’d done a lot of work with the bridyas.
But the state government argued treaties were reserved for agreements involving land ownership.
After “several additional engagement sessions”, according to a council report, the bridyas endorsed the new Noongar name Yacker Danjoo Nglada Bidi (“working together our way”).
The YDNB was approved by councillors at this week’s council meeting, more than two years later than the original April 2019 timeframe nominated in the Reconciliation Action Plan.
In a statement issued via the city, elders advisory group member uncle Farley Garlett said: “The City of Perth has come a long way and for me this has been a big change. The Reconciliation Action Plan has given us good ground work for moving forward.
“We’ve been lucky that the City of Perth has been receptive to the conversations we’ve had over the last few years. It has been nothing but positive.
by DAVID BELL