The HART Awards (Helping Achieve Reconciliation Together), recognise initiatives by local governments and community organisations that are advancing reconciliation in Victoria.
In a major acknowledgement for the Koorie Engagement Action Group, it has been nominated as a finalist for its Inaugural Survival Day Dawn Ceremony.
Held at Lake Wendouree on 26 January this year, the ceremony commemorated the Sovereign First People who fought and died in the frontier wars. These wars began from the date of European colonisation of Australia on 26 January, 1788.
The ceremony organisers recognised that 26 January is a day of mourning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
It also brought the community together for an inclusive ceremony to promote understanding, respect and advance reconciliation in the Ballarat community.
Since 2003, the City of Ballarat, in partnership with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, has made significant achievements which specifically include:
• Improved relationships of trust
• Inclusive whole of City of Ballarat approach to address the needs of these communities
• Increased recognition and frequency of cultural celebrations involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
• Improved engagement with these communities with more culturally appropriate, targeted initiatives by the City of Ballarat
Other members of KEAG include Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal representation from the Department of Justice, Department of Health and Human Services, Federation University, Victoria Police, the Ballarat and District Aboriginal Cooperative (BADAC), the Wathaurong Aboriginal Corporation, Centacare and Child and Family Services Ballarat.
The HART award winners will be announced on 5 June during Reconciliation Week.
“Each member of KEAG is to be congratulated for the Survival Day Dawn ceremony being nominated as a finalist,” the Mayor, Cr Ben Taylor, said.
“These events allow us to reflect on the many battles Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have endured. We hope these awards continue to highlight the importance of reconciliation and what we can achieve by working together.”