The first week in July is NAIDOC week (NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee). This celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and recognises contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields.
Several local councils in Victoria and interstate promote (and sponsor) NAIDOC activities such as Parramatta, Hobson's Bay, Darwin and Moreland to name a few. However, it got me thinking – indigenous issues seem under represented in urban planning. I have seldom heard of seminars and workshops regarding how urban planners can aim to reduce indigenous inequalities. What can planners and designers do to support positive outcomes for indigenous people? This is a tough one – and some organisations have started to address this through mentoring, training and development opportunities (such as offered through PIA), outreach programs or through pro-bono work with indigenous communities (often facilitated through NGOs such as Engineers Without Borders).
The photo below shows the Yorta Yorta Nation NAIDOC week celebrations in Barmah, regional Victoria.
I’d like to see more development of cross cultural partnerships and more information circulated about indigenous issues - and what better time to reflect on this than NAIDOC week.