Government must provide way forward for Bangerang

18 August 2016

Thursday 18 August 2016

Aboriginal Affairs Minister Natalie Hutchins is being urged to meet with Bangerang elders to outline a way forward for their recognition.

The request follows the recent decision by the Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Council’s to reject the Bangerang’s application to become a registered Aboriginal party (RAP). 

Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan told the Victorian Parliament last night that the council’s decision, some two and a half years after the application was made, had come as a real blow.

“The Victorian Government now needs to outline a way forward for the recognition of the Bangerang people.”

“The council’s decision to reject the application doesn’t alter the need for the Bangerang’s rich history as the traditional owners of the region to be appropriately recognised and respected.”

Ms Ryan said in government The Nationals provided the Bangerang people with funding to prepare their application to be dually registered alongside the Yorta Yorta as the RAP for the area.

“Elders like Freddie Dowling, Vicki Atkinson and Kevin Atkinson have devoted many years to this cause,” Ms Ryan said.

“So too did Sandy Atkinson and Wally Cooper, both of whom sadly passed away in the past 12 months.”

Ms Ryan met with Uncle Freddie Dowling several months ago to discuss the Bangerang’s application for RAP status.

“Bangerang elders feel that Victorian Government agencies are erasing the history of their people,” Ms Ryan said.

“It is incumbent on the Minister to sit down with the elders and outline a way forward for the recognition that they deserve.”

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