Indigenous Voice to be Heard

Representation of First Nations people in the Hornsby Shire is set to improve, with 14 community members appointed to the Hornsby Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Committee (HATSICC) at Council’s August meeting.

Formed in 2006, HATSICC has gone from strength to strength, with this new intake including 11 Aboriginal people, almost doubling last year, and becoming the highest ever representation on the committee.

GuriNgai Traditional Owner Auntie Tracy Howie congratulated the newly-selected committee and commended Council for its ongoing support of the local Indigenous community.

“We look forward to continuing our respectful, eventful and meaningful relationship into the future,” she said.

Darug Traditional Owner Auntie Leanne Watson shared similar sentiments on this latest milestone in local Indigenous representation.

“On behalf of the Darug Custodian Aboriginal Corporation, I would like to congratulate Council and the new members of the Hornsby Shire Council HATSICC on the wonderful, continued collaboration.”

According to Council, HATSICC’s recommendations and expertise had led to crucial initiatives since its establishment. These include adopting a Statement of Reconciliation in 2008; inviting Traditional Owners to give a Welcome to Country at Council meetings; endorsing the Uluru Statement from the Heart in 2019; and sharing Aboriginal artwork in the community.

Hornsby Shire Mayor Philip Ruddock similarly stressed the importance of working with the local Aboriginal community, as well as acknowledging First Nations People and their history.

“We were delighted to receive a record number of nominees this year, reflecting the strong community interest in empowering local Aboriginal people and raising awareness of their culture,” Mayor Ruddick said.

Following a strong response for nominees, Council increased voluntary community membership of the HATSICC from 12 to 14, designated a position for the Hornsby Area Residents for Reconciliation community group; and increased Councillor representation from six to seven. It also resolved to schedule an informal workshop to discuss the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan.