why is this important?

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags are powerful symbols of unity and strength for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Flying the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags is one of the most widespread and fundamental ways councils can recognise and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

It is an important symbol welcoming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to local government and the council area.

Recommended Strategies

  • Fly the Aborginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags permanently on all council buildings.
  • Develop local protocols in consultation with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
  • These protocols may include lowering the Flags to half-mast on the passing of Elders, on Sorry Day (26 May), and on 26 January.

Case Studies

Frankston City Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, City of Greater Dandenong, and Shire of Yarra Ranges lower the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags to half-mast on the passing of Elders from their community, and City of Whittlesea lowers all Flags to half-mast on Sorry Day. Some Councils hold a special flag-raising ceremony on Sorry Day, lowering the Flags to half-mast for a minute’s silence, then raising to full-mast for the duration of Sorry Day and National Reconciliation Week. Many councils also fly the Flags during NAIDOC Week, holding a flag-raising ceremony to mark the beginning of NAIDOC Week in their communities.

Glen Eira City Council won a HART Award in 2021 for their culturally safe 26 January event which included lowering the Flags to half-mast.

The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that 47/79 councils permanently fly the Aboriginal Flag. 

Aboriginal Flag

Torres Strait Islander Flag

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