Theirs is the oldest continuous civilisation on earth and I believe it is a tremendous privilege to share this land with them. Their happiness and dignity should always be at the forefront of our thinking.
As Governor, one of the areas I will commit particular focus and attention to is advancing understanding of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and supporting organisations and activities which progress this objective.
Already this year, I have been proud to witness the launch of two world-first initiatives in our State that empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, setting new precedent and creating essential role models.
- Dr Tracy Westerman, a Proud Njamal woman, founder of Indigenous Psychological Services and WA’s 2018 Australian of the Year, celebrated the launch of her Aboriginal Psychology Scholarship in May. Through the scholarships, Dr Westerman and Curtin University aim to support Aboriginal psychology students to become skilled in Indigenous specific mental health, suicide prevention and intervention programs. I am proud to offer my support as Patron.
- Also in May, I attended the inaugural Aboriginal Service Medals Presentation organised by the WA Police Force. The ceremony recognised the service and commitment of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees who, since the early 1900’s have worked with Police in instrumental roles, but have not always received acknowledgement.
Although both of these milestones stem from painful realities, they are truths to be recognised and a reminder to all of us that we must continue to enhance our knowledge and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and traditions.
I am particularly interested in how we can do more to showcase the great diversity of Aboriginal culture and art across WA – to educate both our local community and the world. We will continue to seek out opportunities to increase the use of Government House, the Ballroom and Grounds as a facility to enhance conversations that advance this and related initiatives.
I hope that everyone makes the most of this year’s NAIDOC Week events.
Visit your local government’s website, or contact your local government for information on what NAIDOC Week events are happening in your area. Contact information for your local government is available here (external link).
The Honourable Kim Beazley AC, Governor of Western Australia