Australia

Busselton council votes for Aboriginal place names

The City of Busselton Council has taken a major step towards reconciliation after unanimously voting to look at introducing dual naming for locations and significant places within the region.

This plan will aim to recognise the original Aboriginal names of key places in the city, alongside their European and English names.

In putting forward the motion at the November 16 council meeting, City of Busselton Mayor Grant Henley highlighted dual naming as a measure outlined in the City’s Reconciliation Action Plan, which the council endorsed in October 2019.

Cr Henley asked that the City’s chief executive present a report within four months on the feasibility, cost and consultation required to introduce dual naming signs.

He identified three key reasons for dual naming within the city, highlighting it as a lower-cost measure that could help align with the community desire to acknowledge and recognise the significant Aboriginal history in the area.

“This measure is one identified in the Reconcilliation Action Plan and is achievable without significant expense,” Cr Henley said.

“I believe there is a broad desire within the community for increased recognition of Aboriginal place names, where they existed, prior to European settlement.

“Other local governments are already undertaking this and we should aspire to be leaders, not followers, in this area.”

The motion was seconded by Cr Mikayla Love and was passed eight votes to zero.

City of Busselton Acting chief executive officer Paul Needham now has four months to investigate the process and costs needed to implement dual-name signs, as well as the consultation process the City will need to follow with local Wardandi elders and other civic and community stakeholders.

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