Legislative Council: Thursday, May 05, 2022


Blackwood Reconciliation Group

The Hon. T.T. NGO (14:53): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister inform the council about the Blackwood Reconciliation Group and the reconciliation meeting that he attended last night?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Attorney-General, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:53): I thank the honourable member for his question and his ongoing interest in the area of Aboriginal affairs and reconciliation. As the member indicated, I had the very great fortune to attend the Blackwood Reconciliation Group meeting at the Blackwood Uniting Church in Blackwood.

I would like to particularly thank the new member for Waite, Catherine Hutchesson MP, who also attended the event and was kind enough to organise my visit and attendance on this occasion at the Blackwood Reconciliation Group. She has long been a champion in her community and her attendance there and, even though the other place sat a little bit later than ours last night, she was able to attend about halfway through. I was fortunate enough to attend at the start of the meeting.

The Blackwood Reconciliation Group was established in 1994 and has been continuously active since then as one of the oldest reconciliation groups in this state. The group first formed when some local Blackwood residents got together to hold a study circle on reconciliation for an eight-week course, and when they finished they wanted to continue with reconciliation, forming what we know today as the Blackwood Reconciliation Group.

Some of the upcoming events organised by the group include: reconciliation in the park, a family picnic in the park, with open and respectful conversations during Reconciliation Week; a film night on 13 May, together with Reconciliation South Australia's screening of Colebrook Reconciliation Park—a place of Healing and Learning, with a panel discussion with cast and filmmakers; and many other community initiatives to keep the reconciliation conversation alive and open.

In 2019, the group celebrated its 25th anniversary, and as well as being what we think is the longest running reconciliation group in South Australia, it may also be the longest running reconciliation group anywhere in the nation. At the group's regular meeting last night, I was very pleased to be able to speak to some of the work that the Malinauskas Labor government intends to do to further reconciliation on this site, and to take a number of questions about both past actions the government has taken and steps forward at both a state and federal level.

I was very pleased last night to be informed of the upcoming walk that the Blackwood Reconciliation Group regularly do during Reconciliation Week, which is happening on the 29th of this month. It is a fantastic opportunity that members of the group use to catch up with each other and reflect on where we are going in this state and what we want to look like in the future. In particular, I want to thank Uncle Tamaru, who chaired the meeting—I have known him for many years—for his warm and gracious hosting last night and for welcoming me into the group.