THE City of Swan has defended its Indigenous consultation processes in relation to Midland Oval after serious questions were raised at the Special Elector’s Meeting on Monday night – questions that Mayor David Lucas seemed unable to answer.
Two deputations – one by Aboriginal elder Herbert Bropho and another by a woman who requested only to be known as Cheryl – questioned the City’s consultation of the Indigenous community.
Mr Bropho reminded the City the oval was historically a meeting place for the Aboriginal community and slammed the City for considering to develop the site, while Cheryl quizzed the Mayor over consultation with local indigenous elders.
She asked if the City had sought out local Aboriginal elders to receive their blessing for the redevelopment to go ahead.
In reply, Cr Lucas said the information and submissions received from the public had included local indigenous people.
When Cheryl asked the Mayor if the City had specifically sought out Aboriginal elders, the Mayor’s response took on a terse tone.
“How many people would you like me to ask?” he replied.
“Through our advertising, everybody had the opportunity to make submissions.”
He did not, however, confirm if the City has sought out Aboriginal elders from the local community.
In a response to questions from Echo News regarding indigenous consultation, Swan CEO Mike Foley said the City had consulted with the Department of Aboriginal Affairs during the master-planning process.
“City of Swan consulted the Department of Aboriginal Affairs (DAA) who advised that the precinct area is not located on a known Aboriginal site as registered with the DAA.
“Irrespective of this, the City acknowledges that Midland and the wider City of Swan community has a particularly strong Aboriginal culture and high population.
“As such, in our detailed design and planning phase, the City has consulted with Aboriginal elders, including those with strong connections to Midland.
“Through this consultation, the stories and information provided has helped to inform the interpretive elements that are being integrated throughout the design for New Junction.
“A strong Noongar cultural presence is proposed as part of the ultimate designs for the development.
“There is more work to be done, and the City will continue to engage with elders as we progress with our designs.”