Perth Airport this week hosted an historic
partnership agreement signing ceremony with the Traditional Owners of the land on which Perth Airport is located.
The ceremony, officiated by Hon. Dr Kim Hames
MLA, Western Australia’s Deputy Premier; Minister for Health &
Minister for Indigenous Affairs included a Welcome to Country by a
local elder, along with traditional dancers and a didgeridoo
The agreement brings Perth Airport together with
the Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Elders.
Under the agreement, the Traditional Owners and Aboriginal Elders commit to active engagement and participation
in Perth Airport’s decision making and will provide land
management expertise to assist in land management activities.
Local Noongar experts will also assist with cultural education.
A steering committee, on which Noongar representatives will sit,
will be established and will be responsible for directing the
use of grants and sponsorships provided by Perth Airport to
benefit the local Aboriginal community.
An annual schedule of
events to celebrate and enhance awareness of Aboriginal
heritage and culture at Perth Airport will also be developed and
will include tertiary scholarships to the value of A$5,000 per
year for three years along with an investment of A$20,000 to
sponsor projects to benefit the local community.
CEO Brad Geatches said. “Perth Airport and the Aboriginal
Elders have made significant contributions to working forums,
which has lead to an agreement which has been built upon trust
and closely reflects Perth Airport’s corporate objectives and
values. The signing of this document is not a culmination of
this work, but rather the start of a new chapter that I’m sure all
those involved are proud of.”
The Minister for Indigenous
Affairs echoed Mr Geatches comments, “This commitment represents
the best of reconciliation initiatives and is an action of
respect and of desire to pursue a shared path.”
Throughout NAIDOC Week 2009, Perth Airport
is also handing out commemorative postcards to arriving
international passengers which explain the importance of the Perth
Airport land to the local Aboriginal people.
people are the traditional owners of the land where Perth Airport
is situated. Prior to European settlement the land at Perth
Airport was an important place in the lives of the Noongar
people. According to local elders, the proximity to the Swan River
and the system of wetlands around the Munday Swamp provided
important sources of food. The area is acknowledged as an
important meeting place and continues to have spiritual and
Perth Airport has set aside more
than 300 hectares of airport land for preservation and
conservation. This area includes a number of important
Aboriginal sites, including Munday Swamp.
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