The Aboriginal flag will permanently flyatop the West Gate Bridge, acknowledging its importance as a symbol of unity, identity and resilience for First Peoples across Victoria, the state government has announced.
Roads Minister Ben Carroll and Minister for Treaty and First Peoples Gabrielle Williams announced the new flag arrangements for the West Gate Bridge with permission from Traditional Owners.
Since 2019, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags have flown on a rotational basis on the West Gate Bridge during Reconciliation and NAIDOC weeks. At the end of this year’s NAIDOC week – the final day being Sunday, July 10 – the Aboriginal Flag will remain in place on the bridge.
Work is underway to identify the feasibility and requirements of flying the Torres Strait Islander and Victorian State flags alongside the Aboriginal and Australian flags. This work will take into consideration current flag protocols, as well as the structural, safety and maintenance requirements of the West Gate Bridge, the government saud.
Located on Bunurong Country, the West Gate Bridge is one of the state’s most important assets, and the flags flown are some of the largest in the country,according to a government statement.
“The West Gate Bridge is one of our most visible landmarks – now, the thousands of motorists who use the bridge every day can view the Aboriginal flag flying proudly above our city,” Mr Carroll said.
“We are continuing work looking at how we can also fly the Torres Strait Islander and Victorian State flags above the West Gate Bridge at some point in the future.”
Ms Williams said the government was proud it could “fly this important symbol above Melbourne”.
“Flying the flag follows our ongoing partnership with the First Peoples of Victoria on our path to Treaty and truth,” she said.
Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation chairperson Kelly Lehmann said:
“The Aboriginal flag represents inclusiveness, recognition and respect and having it flown permanently atop the West Gate Bridge demonstrates this commitment to Aboriginal communities in Victoria. This is a significant first step, and we look forward to seeing ways in which the Torres Strait Islander flag can also be flown in the future”.