| March 01, 2017

Update on the Bangerang Cultural Centre

Delivered: Wednesday 1st March 2017, House of Representatives, Parliament House.

I wish to acknowledge the Ngunnawal people, the traditional owners of the land on which this parliament meets, and pay my respect to elders past and present. There is a Bangerang cultural centre in my home town of Shepparton. It was set up in 1982 at the south-east corner of Parkside Gardens and it was the first Aboriginal cultural centre located outside a capital city. A few months ago I bumped into a Bangerang elder by the name of Clinton Edwards as he played his didgeridoo at a welcoming ceremony in the town of Katamatite. I asked him if he would be kind enough to make me a couple of didgeridoos so that I could have one for my office in parliament and one for my electorate office, which he agreed to do.

Last week those works were presented to me. One was produced by Roland Atkinson. Roland made his didgeridoo from mallee wood, with a design representing the Bangerang Nation, whose country includes Shepparton, where my office is located. The design features a kangaroo, which represents me taking my constituents' issues to Canberra. The designs on the didgeridoo are stunning. They also feature the Goulburn River, as well as the Molonglo River here in Canberra. David Edwards made the other didgeridoo for me. It is also made of mallee wood and depicts my regular journeys from my electorate of Murray to Canberra. Its designs also represent the Goulburn River and the Molonglo River, with kangaroo footprints representing my regular trips to Canberra.

The Bangerang clans clearly state that they have an unbroken link to the land around the greater Goulburn Valley. From the very first set of maps that were ever produced by European settlers, the Bangerang clans' unbroken link to land has been clearly established. However, when the Victorian government set in place Registered Aboriginal Party status, the Bangerang were left out. They do not have any status when it comes to determining the type of development that is taking place on their land. Those decisions are made by another Aboriginal group, the Yorta Yorta people. I am very passionate about the fact that the Bangerang clans should have co-RAP status. I call on the Victorian government to look at this issue again and give the Bangerang Aboriginal clans Registered Aboriginal Party status, because it is undeniable that they have had a clear and unbroken link to land ever since white settlers arrived in Australia.


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