The Aboriginal Wilyakali Corporation will push ahead with a Code of Conduct complaint against Broken Hill Mayor Tom Kennedy in just the latest move in what has become a fractious relationship between local first peoples and the Council.
The complaint will need to go out to an independent assessor and is likely to cost in the region of $10,000.
The stoush arose when Mayor Kennedy unveiled a decision by a majority of councillors to stop paying local Aboriginals to carry out occasional Welcome to Country and Smoking ceremonies.
The decision made national headlines, with Broken Hill Council criticised by Reconciliation Australia, and now recognised as an outlier among councils state-wide.
The Council decided not to put the decision out to the normal 28 day consultation period and also announced it during Reconciliation Week.
Following the decision, questions were also raised by Wilyakali Corporation about the mayor’s use of social media, which they say has exposed an ugly underbelly of racism throughout the community that the Corporation describes as “blatant racist and degrading comments”.
They claim the mayor breached sections of Broken Hill City Council’s own code of conduct policy around internet access and use of social media.
“The breaches made under council code of conduct are of a serious nature and the Wilyakali Aboriginal Corporation has requested an investigation into them,” the Corporation told the Barrier Truth.
A statement from the Corporation’s says they want to be given the courtesy to, “work through what has resulted from the actions of the councillor’s decisions, related press releases and the ongoing disparaging and racist comments on social media towards Aboriginal people”.
Despite the furore the Wilyakali Corporation say they, “look forward to working with the Broken Hill City Council and the Broken Hill Aboriginal Community Working Party together to address the recent decision made by Council and how we all move forward as a collective group putting reconciliation back on track, as it remains a high priority towards a stronger and brighter future for our people and the Broken Hill Community.”