Hills Australia Day celebration focuses on inclusion

Mayor Gangemi pictured with The Australia Day at The Farm Social Story.jpg

The Hills Shire Council has secured a grant to boost cultural and disability inclusion at its upcoming Australia Day celebration at Bella Vista Farm on Thursday, January 26.

The $30,000 grant, which was made possible by the Australian Government through the National Australia Day Council (NADC) has enabled the development of a special resource for people with a neurodevelopmental condition, called The 2023 Australia Day Social Story. This Social Story provides an overview of Council’s Australia Day celebration, including the experiences and social situations that will arise on the day and how best to deal with them.

Mayor of The Hills Shire, Dr Peter Gangemi said the document, which can be accessed, downloaded and printed from Council’s website (www.thehills.nsw.gov.au), is a fantastic resource for people with disability, and for their parents and carers.

“Australia Day is about inclusiveness, and we want to make sure that everyone can attend Australia Day at The Farm and have the best time,” he said.

“This Social Story will go a long way to ensuring that our residents, especially those with a neurodevelopmental condition understand more about our planned event and the activities available on the day.

“It’s been written for people of all ages and includes beneficial information, such as what to take with you, where to access the toilets and where the information tent will be located at The Farm,” he added.

Council is also using the funding to reach different multicultural communities and include Auslan interpreters in its celebration. In addition to this, an accessible viewing platform will be made available for those who are unable to reach the area around the main stage. The viewing platform will allow people to see the main stage performances in a safe and convenient location.

Funding has also been used to engage local Indigenous organisation, Muru Mittigar, who will conduct a Welcome to Country and a Smoking Ceremony at Council’s event, as well as run cultural activities, such as basket weaving and dance workshops.

“This event is about recognising our wider community, and it’s fantastic to see that we can make this celebration that much more inclusive for residents,” Mayor Gangemi said.

“I want to thank the Australian Government and the National Australia Day Council for their contribution and for their support to making this year’s Australia Day celebration the best one yet!” he added.

For more details on Council’s Australia Day event, visit Council’s website, www.thehills.nsw.gov.au.

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