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12 March 1991 - Current

Address by Aboriginal community members
Page 877
28 March 2018
ASSEMBLY Address by Aboriginal community members PETER WALSH

Mr WALSH (Murray Plains) (By leave) (12:54:52) — I too acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, the Kulin nations, and acknowledge all other elders who may be present with us today. Thank you for the opportunity to make some brief comments in relation to today's proceedings. First of all, can I thank Jill and Mick for their words and thoughts as expressed here today. Mick, can I assure you that I will not try to sing; you did it so very well so I will not try to emulate that — that was absolutely brilliant. Thank you very much.

Our Indigenous history and heritage is something that we should acknowledge and respect. It is one of the oldest cultures in the world. Right across Victoria we do have a rich Indigenous cultural heritage. Governments have a responsibility to ensure that this is both protected and respected. Indeed this location at Parliament, as the Leader of the Opposition said, was the site of a traditional meeting place.

With European settlement there were actions that we cannot condone or accept. People were removed from their lands and unacceptable acts of violence did occur. It is right that there is recognition of these injustices of the past, and this has occurred on many fronts in recent years and also in this chamber previously. Today one of the major focuses of the government is in closing the gap, which is eliminating the gap in outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people across a range of areas including but not exclusive to health, education and the justice system. While some of these outcomes have been positive, it is clear there needs to be more done in certain areas.

It is also very pleasing to see the increase in leadership positions of Indigenous people within our communities. This is assisting in not only recognising the issues faced but is also a positive step in addressing these matters. Victoria does have a diverse community made up of many backgrounds, but our traditional owners have a unique and special place in our communities. It is incumbent on all of us here to ensure that all in our society respect and acknowledge this. In concluding, I again thank those who have been involved in today's ceremonies and particularly Mick again — well sung, fantastic. Thank you.