Locals demand consultation over council name change

“I am conflicted because I am progressive. I don’t want this to be seen as being against First Nations,” he said. “But at the end of the day…if you don’t involve the community…in such a big change, you’ll have a divided community.”

Peta Slattery, a taxpayer and Brunswick resident of eight years, said most petition signatories were concerned about a lack of transparency or the ability to voice their concerns.

“It’s interesting, even on social media if you talk about it, you’re instantly dismissed as a racist,” she said.

The postal survey received by the inhabitants of Moreland during the consultation of the change of name of the municipality.

A letter dated November 24 last year from Mayor Mark Riley to then local government minister Shaun Leane shows Riley and Moreland council CEO Cathy Henderson intended to circumvent any debate about whether the name should change.

“At this stage, we do not propose to conduct a community consultation on whether the Moreland name should be removed, as such consultation is likely to be divisive and cause further harm to our community,” the letter states, which was obtained under Freedom. of information.

In the letter, the mayor said the name change request came from indigenous elders of the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung community and other unnamed community representatives on November 19.

“Elders who have met with us have told us that the name is racist and offensive, and associated with the terrible dispossession of traditional owners.”

The board estimated the cost of the name change at $500,000 over two fiscal years, but independent adviser Oscar Yildiz said he thought it would blow up.

“It will cost millions,” said Yildiz, one of three of 11 councilors who opposed the name change.

“All street signs, all trash cans, stationery, cars, community facilities, all leisure centers, all sports clubs, social networks. You name it, we have to change it.

British colonizers dispossessed the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung from the area in the 1800s. his family, which numbered up to 700 slaves.

Moreland was chosen as the name of the council when the towns of Brunswick, Coburg and parts of Broadmeadows merged in 1994.

Other Victorian councils have already adopted Aboriginal titles, including Maribyrnong, Boroondara, Dandenong and Yarra.

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Riley said in a statement that the name change initiative was part “of a genuine commitment to reconciliation with the [Traditional Owners] Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people”.

He said every taxpayer, resident and business owner already had the opportunity to provide feedback on naming options in May and June.

Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation declined to comment.

A spokesperson for Horne said the process, which involves making a recommendation to the governor, would be completed within the next two months.

The minister did not respond to questions about whether she would take residents’ concerns into account in her decision, but said in a statement that ‘close collaboration with traditional owner groups is essential as we move forward on our path. nation towards treaty, truth and justice. .”

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