Our commitment to Brimbank’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
On 26 February 2008, Brimbank adopted the full motion passed by the Federal Government on 13 February 2008 in saying sorry to the Stolen Generations on behalf of the Australian Parliament and people.
Reconciliation Statement of Commitment
Council endorsed a Reconciliation Statement of Commitment on 17 April 2012 and extended the Federal Government’s apology to the Stolen Generations on behalf of our residents.
It was signed by Council Administrators (Peter Lewinsky, Meredith Sussex, and Joanne Anderson) and Wurundjeri Elders (Aunty Dianne Kerr, Uncle Perry Wandin, and Aunty Alice Kolasa) at a civic ceremony on 29 May 2012.
Reconciliation Action Plan
We adopted our first Reconciliation Action Plan in 2013 as a framework to support the national reconciliation movement, embrace unity and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and other Australians.
The second Reconciliation Action Plan was adopted in July 2019. It builds on the strengths and achievements of the first Reconciliation Action Plan 2013-2017.
This was developed with the Brimbank Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Committee, Traditional Owners groups and local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Brimbank Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Committee
The Brimbank Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reconciliation Action Plan Consultative Committee (BATSICC) provides Council with knowledge and advice on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues and needs, and the ongoing implementation of Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and Council’s Strategic Direction.
The Committee comprises a total of up to nine members consisting of Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and non-Aboriginal community representatives, who have a significant role in supporting the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and a commitment to reconciliation in Brimbank.
It is Chaired by a Brimbank Councillor, and an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community representative is Co-Chair.
The objectives of the Committee are to:
- Provide advice on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Brimbank and inform priorities for discussion.
- Monitor, review and contribute to the update of the Reconciliation Action Plan and other policies relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Brimbank.
- Provide advice on cultural and arts programs and events, including but not limited to Sorry Day, Reconciliation and NAIDOC Week events.
- Provide advice to Council in relation to its communication, engagement and consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Advise on other matters to inform advocacy to other levels of government.
The BATSICC Terms of Reference define responsibilities, composition, and expectations of members.
Current Committee Members
Aboriginal Elder Graham Cooper
Uncle Boots is a strong Yorta Yorta man. Born in Shepparton and a descendant of the river clans, Uncle Boots says Brimbank is right on the edge of grassroots country, and he loves it for its laidback, multicultural feeling. He’s passionate about supporting his community and does this through advisory roles with Brimbank Council and other organisations as well as working in the community. Uncle Boots and his wife Aunty Joyce, a proud Yorta Yorta woman, were awarded Brimbank Citizens of the Year in 2021 for their love of community and care in fostering. They have fostered 89 children over 27 years through the formal system, and many more outside of this.
Aboriginal Elder Caroline Joyce Cooper
Aunty Joyce is a proud Yorta Yorta woman, and a descendent of the Wiradjuri, Wurundjeri and Dja Dja Wurrung peoples. She has lived in Brimbank for around 20 years. Because of her own background, Aunty Joyce is focussed on helping community, working to pass on her culture and knowledge to the next generation. She and her husband Graham Cooper (proud Yorta Yorta man Uncle Boots) have fostered dozens of children, and they run a group for Aboriginal youth. Aunty Joyce is always looking for improvement and stability for her community, and enjoys working with Brimbank Council and other organisations to implement projects that acknowledge her people.
Aboriginal Elder Shane Charles
Born and bred in Shepparton, Uncle Shane is a strong Yorta Yorta, Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung man. He has worked across a range of sectors including education and training, justice and cultural heritage within both Aboriginal and mainstream organisations. As the Co-Chair of Reconciliation Victoria, Uncle Shane is a passionate advocate for reconciliation. Shane co-chairs the Aboriginal Studies and Indigenous Strategies Committee at La Trobe University. He is known for his work in cultural intelligence and diversity of Australia’s First Peoples.
Aboriginal Elder Lee-Anne Clarke
Aunty Lee-Anne Clarke is a proud Kirrae Whurrong woman of Southwest Victoria. Lee-Anne has been living in Brimbank for over 22 years and has two daughters. Aunty Lee-Anne is a Koorie Engagement Support Officer (KESO) in the Brimbank/Melton area and is passionate about education and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth and families to be strong and proud in their identity and culture. For the past five years Lee-Anne has facilitated the St Albans Koorie Homework Club.
Aunty Lee-Anne says that as a Traditional and Contemporary Koorie Artist her connection to Country plays a massive role in how she approaches her artwork, as an extension and expression of ‘Country’ and Spirit in the stories she shares. Through her love of drawing and painting, she finds a place of free expression, and non-judgement in her own identity and the journey she has taken. Aunty Lee-Anne has participated in numerous art exhibitions in Brimbank.
Aboriginal Elder Marjorie Jean Mason
Aunty Jeanie Mason is a proud Bakandji woman from New South Wales. Aunty Jeanie grew up in Wilcannia on a mission and thanks to her mum she grew up with her culture and her language. Her mum took her and her eight siblings out to the bush and taught them about medicinal plants, what to eat and what to look for. Aunty Jeanie has lived in the Brimbank area for 30 years, and became involved with the community through her professional background working in community services. She is passionate about education and improving opportunities for the Indigenous community to strengthen connections to culture and community.
Jacqui is a descendant of Jingili/Mudburra peoples and daughter of the stolen generation. Her mother was removed from a remote community and taken to Melville Island in the Northern Territory when she was 8 years old. This set the foundation for how Jacqui grew up, without her language, culture or family to help raise her and her brothers and sisters. Jacqui moved to Victoria in 2008 to be closer to family already here, and in multicultural Brimbank she connected to community through her own role working in community development. She has been in the health and education sector for most of her career, and because of her upbringing, community and cultural connection remains an important focus for her.
Elyse is of Maori descent, her whakapapa (genealogy) ties her to the Northland iwi of Ngāpuhi, with connections to the hapū (sub tribes) of the Whangaruru, Whakapara, and Hokianga regions. Although Elyse has been away from these places for a long time, the ancestral connection and affinity with these places remains strong.
Elyse has lived and worked in Brimbank for eight years. Working in the Brimbank area as a Financial Counsellor means that Elyse has a strong connection to community and the environments that surround community. Elyse is clear that she does not speak on behalf of the community, and that communities’ voice is indeed strong in the Brimbank area. It needs only for more bridges of connection to be established, bridges that possess the right framing and support to allow for communication to flow freely between the two vastly different landscapes that make up council and community.