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Man holding gum leaves over a smoking fire pit.

Important cultural awareness film launched today

Tuesday 29 May

East Gippsland Shire Council launched its cultural awareness film today (Tuesday) to coincide with National Reconciliation Week.


Titled ‘Our Commitment to Reconciliation’, the film aims to help council staff and the wider community better understand the history and culture of local Aboriginal people and their communities. The film will be shown as part of the induction process for new council staff.


Speaking at the launch at the Bairnsdale Library, Mayor Cr Joe Rettino said the short film stemmed from council’s Reconciliation Action Plan.


“The Aboriginal community within East Gippsland is about three per cent of the population,” Cr Rettino said.


"Council identified the importance of increasing our knowledge of this sector of our community. Councillors and all staff completed cultural awareness training a couple of years ago.


"This training was fantastic, but we wanted a way to be able to share this information with new staff on an as-needs basis. This film allows us to do that,” Cr Rettino said.


The original training sessions included a presentation by Aunty Dr Doris Paton followed by a visit to the Krowathunkooloong Keeping Place with facility manager Rob Hudson.


Both have been involved in the making of the film.


“Both the original training and this new film cover some history of Aboriginal people, both pre-dating European settlement and in more recent times, Aboriginal people’s customs and the importance of Country, as well as the importance of family and the role Elders play,” Cr Rettino said.


The launch included a Welcome to Country and smoking ceremony undertaken by Wayne Thorpe through the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC).


Shire CEO Gary Gaffney said council has worked with local organisations Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-operative (GEGAC) and GLaWAC to develop the film.


“The film has been deliberately produced in a way that allows it to be customised to other businesses, meaning more organisations can include cultural awareness training for their staff in a cost-effective way.


"We already have several large East Gippsland employers looking to adapt this film for their organisations,” Mr Gaffney said.


To find out more about council's Reconciliation Action Plan and local Aboriginal organisations, visit the Koorie Community page.


Pictured top right is Wayne Thorpe undertaking a smoking ceremony


 Woman and man standing in front of a shire banner.

Aunty Dr Doris Paton, pictured with East Gippsland Shire Council Mayor Cr Joe Rettino, played an integral role in the film’s content.


Group of people watching an outdoor cinema screen

The film was shown in the library forecourt.



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