Sunshine Coast Council was the first local government in Queensland to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan in partnership with Reconciliation Australia, which it launched in 2011.
Since then, council has placed a high priority on building stronger relationships with first nations peoples, valuing their cultures and heritage and their contribution to the social fabric of our community.
To build strong and respectful relationships between first nations people and non-first nations people, national reconciliation week brings council and its key stakeholders together to support and celebrate reconciliation efforts.
Sunshine Coast Council invites the community to come together to celebrate the start of national reconciliation week and the achievements, commitments, and partnerships with the first nations community.
National Reconciliation Week
The 2023 National Reconciliation Week theme was Be a Voice for Generations.
27 May – 1967 referendum anniversary
2022 celebrated the 55th anniversary of the 1967 referendum in which 90.77% of the Australian population voted 'Yes' to amend the country’s constitution and recognise first nations Australians as citizens. This meant that first nations were people now counted in the census.
After the referendum the Australian Government established the Council for Aboriginal Affairs to attempt to address issues of disadvantage and discrimination experienced by first nations people.
This was the first step, for the Australian Government, towards ‘bridging the gap’ in healthcare, education, employment, and other disadvantages.
29 May – Torres Strait Islander flag day
The Torres Strait Islander flag was designed by Weiben man Bernard Namok Snr. in 1992 the flag was officially recognised and presented to the people of Torres Strait on 29 May 1992 at the sixth Torres Strait cultural festival.
The Torres Strait Islander flag is a symbol of unity and identity for the Torres Strait Islander people and illustrates the deep connections they have with the sea, islands and sky of the Torres Strait.
Symbolism of the flag: green represents the land; blue represents the sea; black represents the communities of the Torres Strait Islander peoples; the central, white, symbol is the dhari (headdress); and the white five pointed star symbolises peace, and the navigational importance of stars to the seafaring peoples of the Torres Strait. The five-pointed star represents the five distinct language and cultural groups of the region.
Bernard Namok Snr. may have designed the flag, however the people of the Torres Strait Islands own the copyright. The story of the Torres Strait Islander flag is captured in the 2017 documentary titled Carry the Flag, featuring Bernard Namok Jnr.
3 June – Mabo day
Mabo day is marked annually on 3 June, commemorating Meriam man Eddie Koiki Mabo (29 June 1936–21 January 1992) and his successful efforts to overturn the legal fiction of terra nullius, or ‘land belonging to no-one’.
Sadly, Eddie Mabo died 5 months before the historic decision came on 3 June 1992 that ‘native title’ did exist and it was up to the people of Mer to determine who owned the land. Together with Reverend Dave Passi, Sam Passi, James Rice, Celuia Mapo Salee and Barbara Hocking, he was posthumously awarded the Australian Human Rights Medal in the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Awards.
Visit the Reconciliation Australia - NRW page to stay up-to-date with national celebrations.
Customer enquiries relating to the region’s Traditional Custodians, council’s Reconciliation Action Plan or other First Nations projects supported by council, can be sent to the First Nations Partnerships team.