Thank you for providing this opportunity to express my views on the issue of the Australia Day issue.
As an elected Councillor, I am here to reflect the wishes of the local residents and I have received no requests to alter the current form of festivities on Australia Day from my local constituents.
However, many residents have contacted me expressing concerns of massive over-development, the loss of their parks, their deep concern at the number of trees to be felled and requests to protect heritage and to establish an early history of the area including a monument to the Aboriginal leaders.
These are issues that I have, or am currently, seeking to action. I would welcome meeting with the local Aboriginal community.
I believe in Ryde there is a solid base of respect, understanding and empathy for the Aboriginal peoples and I would like to discuss what can be achieved at Council level to further assist, including creating roles for local cultural officers, Indigenous rangers and educators of Aboriginal history.
In my experience, open and frank communication in situations where people are free to express their grievances, and the difficulties and complexities of a situation can be addressed, can result in long-lasting solutions.
I would be working towards building a cohesive, inclusive Ryde that celebrates the many different cultures and histories that make it is such a rich and diverse area to live.
Councillor, City of Ryde