City celebrates connection with culture

This week is NAIDOC Week, a time when we pause and celebrate our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community with vibrant and inclusive events and activities across the city. Our city has a strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population, who we work very closely with and each year.

Council holds a traditional Smoking Ceremony outside of the Council chambers to recognise NAIDOC Week (pictured) .This week's celebration was again a special event, marking the official launch of Council's Aboriginal Community Plan 2019-2023 'Bayikulinan'.

I was very proud to present this plan, which speaks to the strength and capacity of Aboriginal people in our City, their enduring connection to Country, their connection with the spirit of their ancestors and the Dreamtime, and their vision for the future.

Language, education and relationships are some of the areas we hope to maintain and strengthen through our actions over the four-year life of this plan. Consultation told us that these are priorities for our community that need to be addressed by supporting and involving Elders, so that connections to culture are maintained for future generations.

This point was particularly significant for this week's ceremony because the theme of NAIDOC Week this year - Voice. Treaty. Truth. - is all about working together for a shared future. This emphasises the true meaning of this week, which is that it is a celebration not only for Indigenous communities, but for all Australians as we recognise the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NAIDOC celebrations continue into this week in Lake Mac with the Eastlakes NAIDOC Family Fun Day to be held from 10am to 3pm at the Pelican foreshore on Friday July 19.

Good luck Team Lake Mac

On Friday last week, Team Lake Mac left for Ufa, Russia to compete in the 2019 International Children's Games from July 9 to 13. I wish all of the 14 local swimmers and track and field athletes the very best of luck in their individual events. I have no doubt that they will do Lake Mac proud. While it is a wonderful chance for them to compete internationally, I think what they will take away most is the chance to make new friends, travel and learn about other cultures.

Cr David Belcher, Deputy Mayor of Lake Macquarie