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Melbourne council honours ‘wrong’ traditional landowners in NAIDOC week

Stonnington Councillor Alexander Lew says his council honoured the "wrong" traditional landowners for their NAIDOC week celebrations because they did not want to “offend” the community they had already booked. 

“There’s been a recent decision by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council which has resolved a dispute as to who the traditional owners of Stonnington are,” he said. 

“And our council had gone ahead and organised the wrong traditional owners to open events for NAIDOC week and, unfortunately, not wanting to offend them, we didn’t cancel them.

“So we went ahead and did our NAIDOC week events with the not properly recognised traditional owners, going forward though we will be using the correct traditional owners.” 

Mr Lew told Sky News Australia he believed the celebrations went ahead and acknowledged the incorrect landowners because many of his colleagues are not “that devoted to the Indigenous issue”.  

“I think it’s something they use to promote their own image,” he said.

“But if you scratch the surface there’s not that much care or concern, I don’t believe, for the real issues which are affecting Indigenous people from Stonnington Council.”

Stonnington Councillor Alexander Lew says his council honoured the “wrong” traditional landowners for their NAIDOC week celebrations because they did not want to “offend” the community they had already booked.

“There’s been a recent decision by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council which has resolved a dispute as to who the traditional owners of Stonnington are,” he said.

“And our council had gone ahead and organised the wrong traditional owners to open events for NAIDOC week and, unfortunately, not wanting to offend them, we didn’t cancel them.

“So we went ahead and did our NAIDOC week events with the not properly recognised traditional owners, going forward though we will be using the correct traditional owners.”

Mr Lew told Sky News Australia he believed the celebrations went ahead and acknowledged the incorrect landowners because many of his colleagues are not “that devoted to the Indigenous issue”.

“I think it’s something they use to promote their own image,” he said.

“But if you scratch the surface there’s not that much care or concern, I don’t believe, for the real issues which are affecting Indigenous people from Stonnington Council.” Stonnington Councillor Alexander Lew says his council honoured the “wrong” traditional landowners for their NAIDOC week celebrations because they did not want to “offend” the community they had already booked.

“There’s been a recent decision by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council which has resolved a dispute as to who the traditional owners of Stonnington are,” he said.

“And our council had gone ahead and organised the wrong traditional owners to open events for NAIDOC week and, unfortunately, not wanting to offend them, we didn’t cancel them.

“So we went ahead and did our NAIDOC week events with the not properly recognised traditional owners, going forward though we will be using the correct traditional owners.”

Mr Lew told Sky News Australia he believed the celebrations went ahead and acknowledged the incorrect landowners because many of his colleagues are not “that devoted to the Indigenous issue”.

“I think it’s something they use to promote their own image,” he said.

“But if you scratch the surface there’s not that much care or concern, I don’t believe, for the real issues which are affecting Indigenous people from Stonnington Council.”

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