crossorigin="anonymous"> crossorigin="anonymous">
top of page

Orange mayor tells councillor to "watch what you are saying" during Indigenous training debate

May 17, 2023

By David Fitzsimons

A call for Orange councillors to receive Indigenous cultural awareness training has led to an outburst over what the training would involve.

As councillor Gerald Power, the first Indigenous councillor in the city’s history, called for the training to be part of councillor inductions, councillor Kevin Duffy said he did not want “bedtime stories”.

Duffy called for a deferral saying he wanted “relevant information for the people involved”.

“I want studies done, I don’t want bedtime stories, I don’t want any of these types of things here, I want facts,” he said. "We can’t just be going around willy-nilly.”

Duffy was then cautioned by mayor Jason Hamling: “Just watch what you are saying councillor Duffy.”

Hamling said he also wanted more information.

“I wouldn’t mind having a deferment, maybe to have a working party and a talk about this, to bring it back to council when we all know what it’s all about and what it’s going to entail,” he said.

Councillor Tony Mileto said the training should not be mandatory, but rather be “encouraged”.

Councillor Jack Evans said councillors as community leaders would benefit from cultural training.

“If we engage with the material and what’s important locally, we wouldn’t be going around willy-nilly, we’d be a bit more informed,” he said.

Councillor Frances Kinghorne said the training should involve contact with Indigenous Elders who could explain local issues, as opposed to online information.

“A couple of my kids have done the compulsory online stuff as part of their university courses,” she said. “It’s tokenistic box-ticking, it’s utter crap.”

Councillor David Mallard said it was “disappointing” the move by Power had been side-tracked.

“We’ve got bogged down in some complete nonsense,” he said.

Council eventually agreed to Power’s call for councillors and some staff to receive cultural training after each council election.

“(It) would be included as part of induction/training offered for all councillors during the term elected, with the aim of the training to provide the tools to move forward in (the) reconciliation process of understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in Orange’s LGA,” Power said.

Later in Tuesday night’s meeting the council heard a report into the state of the Orange Function Centre (OFC), which included estimated costs of about $4 million for repairs and upgrades.

It agreed to support the OFC’s future for community events and to consider funding for the works in future budgets.

Council staff told the meeting council would likely never get its money back in returns even if it spent $4 million on the OFC.

Independent media with no agendas is more important than ever. The Orange News Examiner needs your support so we can keep telling stories about our city.

You can make a one-off donation or a small monthly pledge at Patreon or PayPal.

Thank you to those who have already chipped in.




bottom of page