Having your say for your community — Yamatji on Country 2023
The annual Yamatji on Country is back on Wednesday 20 and Thursday 21 September at the Bundiyarra Aboriginal Community Aboriginal Corporation in Geraldton.
The significant two-day event is an important time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to come together and have a say on issues important to their communities, build relationships and collectively engage while enjoying time together with bushtucker and entertainment.
The keynote speakers this year are Thomas Mayo presenting on The Voice on day one and Parliament representatives Minister Tony Buti and Senator Cox speaking on day two.
There will be an update on the Call to Action from 2022 and the Cultural Heritage Act (with Q&A) opening discussions on how it impacts Aboriginal people in the region. The discussion format provides the opportunity to identify solution-based responses to challenges that can be presented to State and Federal Government guests on day two in partnership with Aboriginal communities.
Keep an eye out for the engaging Youth Presentations from students from several attending high schools, who will also join in the conversations.
Information stalls from government and community including Headspace, Family Legal Services, Streeties and Wajarri will also be in attendance.
Read the media release on this page.
9.30am – 4pm: First Nations Peoples Day. Closed event.
5.30pm – 8.30pm: Evening Entertainment and Meal. Bushtucker and entertainment featuring First Nations’ performers from the Yamatji region.
8.00am: Community Breakfast - all welcome
9.00am – 1.45pm: Government Decision-makers join the conversation. Program includes student performances, student and community member presentations, response from invited guests, panel and community discussion.
Lunch is provided on both days.
Yamatji on Country 2022
Youth involvement: a first
In a first for Yamatji On-Country, students from Nagle Catholic College, Champion Bay Senior High School and Geraldton Senior High School workshopped their main areas of concern with teachers and YMAC representatives before speaking at the event. They came up with 12 main issues and concerns before narrowing it down to the top five they felt most important: racism, alcohol and drugs, lack of culture, online bullying, and home environment.
Community representatives were selected from First Nations people attending the event – Geraldton youth then joined with Elders as they worked together on six key messages they wanted to present to government as calls to action (including many of the concerns the students had put forward):
A Call to Action
The Call to Action statement was presented at the event to Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti, Geraldton Lara Dalton MLA (representing Community Services Minister Simone McGurk) and directors and senior staff from the Departments of Communities, Education and Planning, Lands and Heritage; WA Police and National Indigenous Australians Agency. These representatives also joined the bush tucker barbecue on the evening of day one and shared lunch with students on day two. Entertainment at the barbecue came from Latia Robertson, Zain Laudehr-May, Trevor Farrell, Craig Pickett and Carrum Mourambine.
Read the media release, issued following the event.
Watch a condensed version of Yamatji On-Country 2022 highlights:
Watch an extended version of Yamatji On-Country 2022 highlights:
Yamatji On-Country also included stalls from Geraldton Regional Aboriginal Medical Service (GRAMS), Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries – Aboriginal Cultural Centre Community Engagement Planning (First Nations Staff), Wajarri Yamatji Aboriginal Corporation – SKA Employment Expo, First Nations Heritage Protection Alliance, Headspace and Helping Minds.