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Mayoral Message - November 2020

NAIDOC Week

Today marks the start of NAIDOC Week. The 2020 theme is Always Was, Always Will Be, recognising that First Nations people have occupied and cared for this continent for over 65,000 years. NAOIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The COVID-19 pandemic meant NAIDOC Week had to be postponed until now. I will be attending a flag raising ceremony at Yass Memorial Hall at 10.30am tomorrow, Monday, 9 November, followed by historical displays, including photographs, Ngunnawal histories, language and culture studio and an Elders Yarning Circle. The NAIDOC Week display in Memorial Hall will be open until 2.30pm tomorrow and there will be full COVID-19 safety compliance as per Government restrictions.

Remembrance Day

I will also be honoured to attend Yass’s Remembrance Day service outside the Yass Memorial Hall on Wednesday, 11 November at 11am. Remembrance Day is a major event for both veterans and the broader community to pay their respects to those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. The NSW Government has granted a one-off exemption from COVID-19 restrictions to allow groups of up to 100 people to gather on Remembrance Day. Australians have paused to reflect and pay tribute on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month since 1918, so this is welcome news for our veterans in our community.

Australia Day Awards

Nominations for the 2021 Yass Valley Australia Day Awards are now open and I call upon the community to nominate outstanding individuals and groups that make a significant contribution and difference to the Yass Valley. The annual Australia Day Awards is a great way for us to come together as a community, in some way, shape or form, and publicly thank those individuals and groups that work hard to make Yass Valley such a wonderful place to live. After a challenging 2020, it will be particularly fitting to acknowledge the caring and generous contributions of our citizens.

Award categories include: Citizen of the Year; Young Citizen of the Year; Senior Citizen of the Year; Community Group of the Year; and Individual Community Service. More information, including nomination forms, are available on Council’s website.

In 2020, we have been forced to miss out on a lot – our family, our friends, milestones, celebrations, certainty and routine. We are all still learning to adapt to our new COVID-19 normal and it is heartening to see the important people in our community – our First Nations people, our veterans and our community champions - acknowledged and celebrated as they should be during NAIDOC Week, on Remembrance Day and through our annual Australia Day Awards. I encourage the community to come together – in a safely distanced way – and keep connected during these times.

8 November 2020

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