Peter Vincent, Daily Mail, February 4, 2022
The Aboriginal flag will fly permanently on top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge after the NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet directed bureaucrats to find a way to make it happen urgently.
The decision is the culmination of a five-year campaign started by Komilaroi woman Cheree Toka, who tweeted her delight on Saturday morning.
‘A five year struggle worth while! We bloody did it!’ she wrote.
Mr Perrottet has been told it could take up to a year to get the Aboriginal flag on the Bridge, but he’s asked for it to happen more quickly.
‘I’ll climb up there and and put it up myself if I need to,’ Mr Perrottet declared.
‘What I find ridiculous is that we could build the Harbour Bridge in the 1920s, but apparently we can’t put a flagpole on the bridge in 2022,’ Perrottet, told The Sydney Morning Herald.
‘I’ve directed them to find a way to do it, and I’ve been advised that they will find a way to achieve that.’
At present the Aboriginal flag only flies on the Bridge for 19 days a year. The two flag poles on it usually carry the Australian flag and the state flag.
Flying the the Aboriginal flag on the bridge full-time is one of several new orders Perrottet has given around Indigenous issues.
He is set to update the NSW ministerial charter for all 26 government ministers in his cabinet to include an obligation to close the gap in their portfolios.
Perrottet will also authorise the remediation of Goat Island in Sydney Harbour before handing it back to Aboriginal owners.
Goat Island is owned by the NSW government and and is often rented out for ticketed public events such as dance parties.
It is one of several possible sites for a new Indigenous cultural precinct he wants built to celebrate Aboriginal history.
This could be partly used for educational purposes with students leaning about Indigenous history at the site.
Another is Macquarie Street in the Sydney CBD.
‘Part of the change we are looking at today is empowering all ministers to have buy-in to that responsibility. There are many issues that go right across the board, across different departments,’ he said.
‘If we all work together and have a key focus, I want all our ministers to be minister for Aboriginal affairs in their own right.
‘We can’t truly be proud of our country unless we are working together to achieve true reconciliation,’ Mr Perrottet said.
‘That’s a combination of both symbolic reconciliation and practical reconciliation.’
The premier said it was important to engender a deeper understanding of Indigenous culture, something he said had been lacking and as such, was ‘a travesty’.