City of Busselton council to acknowledge country at meetings

In a move to show respect for traditional owners and continuing a connection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to country, the City of Busselton council have agreed to acknowledge country at meetings.

The change comes after a committee reviewed its Standing Orders Local Law 2010 and it was recommended that the order of business be amended to reflect the WALGA model at council meetings.

The only exception to the standing orders was to include a prayer during the meeting, a practice which already takes place. 

While supporting the addition to the meeting, Councillor Ross Paine raised a motion to move acknowledgement of country to the opening of council meetings rather than the same time as the prayer.

Mr Paine said it would be more appropriate to acknowledge country at the start of meetings when the meeting was declared open and visitors were also welcomed.

Mayor Grant Henley agreed with the motion and said it reflected what they had discussed in committee meetings.

The sentiments were shared by fellow councillors Rob Bennett and John McCallum who said it would contribute to the city’s reconciliation action plan.

The motion was moved 7-2 with councillors Gordon Bleachmore and Terry Best voting against the move.

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