Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll, Minister for Treaty and First Peoples Gabrielle Williams with Bunurong Elder Uncle Mike Edwards made a major announcement today on the banks of the Birrarung (Yarra River) during NAIDOC celebrations happening throughout Victoria.
The Andrews Labor Government will fly the Aboriginal flag permanently atop the West Gate Bridge, acknowledging its importance as a symbol of unity, identity and resilience for First Peoples across Victoria.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll and Minister for Treaty and First Peoples Gabrielle Williams today announced the new flag arrangements for the West Gate Bridge with permission from Traditional Owners – signifying Victoria’s commitment to acknowledging and celebrating First Peoples’ history, heritage and culture.
Since 2019, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags have flown on a rotational basis on the West Gate Bridge during Reconciliation and NAIDOC weeks. At the end of this year’s NAIDOC week – the final day being this Sunday 10 July – the Aboriginal Flag will remain in place on the bridge.
Work is underway to identify the feasibility and requirements of flying the Torres Strait Islander and Victorian State flags alongside the Aboriginal and Australian flags. This work will take into consideration current flag protocols, as well as the structural, safety and maintenance requirements of the West Gate Bridge.
Located on Bunurong Country, the West Gate Bridge is one of the state’s most important assets, and the flags flown are some of the largest in the country.
The flying of the Aboriginal Flag is another step in recognising and celebrating First Peoples and Traditional Owners as the custodians of the land and waters in Victoria.
The Labor Government is continuing to partner with First Peoples in Victoria and Victorian Traditional Owners on its path to Treaty and truth, having established the Yoorrook Justice Commission and working with the First Peoples’ Assembly on the foundations of Australia’s first Treaty.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll “The West Gate Bridge is one of our most visible landmarks – now, the thousands of motorists who use the bridge every day can view the Aboriginal flag flying proudly above our city.”
“We are continuing work looking at how we can also fly the Torres Strait Islander and Victorian State flags above the West Gate Bridge at some point in the future.”
Quotes attributable to Minister for Treaty and First Peoples Gabrielle Williams “The Aboriginal flag signifies unity, identity and resilience for Aboriginal people. We are very proud that we can now fly this important symbol above Melbourne.” “Flying the flag follows our ongoing partnership with the First Peoples of Victoria on our path to Treaty and truth.”
Quotes attributable to Chairperson, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation Kelly Lehmann
“The Aboriginal flag represents inclusiveness, recognition and respect and having it flown permanently atop the West Gate Bridge demonstrates this commitment to Aboriginal communities in Victoria. This is a significant first step, and we look forward to seeing ways in which the Torres Strait Islander flag can also be flown in the future.”