LOCAL police stations have received a new addition this week, one which speaks to Victoria Police’s recognition of indigenous Australians and its desire to maintain good relationships with the aboriginal community.
On Monday, Numurkah, Nathalia and Katamatite police stations were able to raise the aboriginal flag on new flag poles, alongside the Australian flag, in an initiative started and championed by former Federal Member for Indi Cathy McGowan.
The flag poles were purchased and installed with joint funding from Victoria Police and the Department of Justice, whilst the flags were provided by the office of current Federal Member for Indi Dr Helen Haines.
Giving the official address before the aboriginal flag was raised alongside the Australian flag for the first time, Sergeant Tim Gleeson acknowledged the traditional owners of the land, and paid respect to their elders.
Sgt Gleeson also acknowledged that the relationship between Victoria Police and the aboriginal community had, in the past, been strained at times.
“We hope that aboriginal members of our community can see their flag flying here alongside the Australian flag and recognise it as a sign that Victoria Police seeks to treat all members of our community with equal respect, and that we value the relationship we have built with them,” he said.
Senior students from Numurkah Primary School did the flag raising honours.
Indigenous grade six student Chris Bodsworth officially thanked the Victoria Police members present, saying that it meant a lot to him to see the aboriginal flag flying outside the police station.
“Now when I go past the police station I will feel more like I’m included, and my culture is respected, and less different to everyone else,” he said.
Next month, Tungamah police station will raise its aboriginal flag for the first time when it welcomes a new member to its ranks.
Once the aboriginal flag is flying at Tungamah, it will mean that each of the 27 stations in Eastern Police Region Division Four is flying both flags, making it the only police region in Victoria to do so.