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Thursday, April 15, 2021

Making a name for Canberra: Join the ACT Place Names Advisory Committee

Canberrans can join the ACT Place Names Advisory Committee, which advises the government on naming suburbs and public places in the ACT.

The government is looking for new members from across the ACT with a strong understanding of and connection to the community to help protect and enhance the Territory’s values.

Chris Steel, Acting Minister for Planning and Land Management, encouraged interested community members to take advantage of these vacancies and submit an application.

“We recognise that there is a wide variety of perspectives within the ACT, which is why the new Committee members will be appointed from a broad range of diverse backgrounds, including our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community,” Mr Steel said.

The Committee comprises:

  • the Surveyor-General of the ACT;
  • a representative with an understanding of local heritage;
  • representatives with a background in, or knowledge of, Australian history (local and/or national);
  • a representative from the local media;
  • a representative with a multicultural background;
  • an Indigenous representative;
  • a person with a background in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultures;
  • a young adult;
  • and a representative of the National Capital Authority.

Membership is voluntary, and will be appointed for three years, Mr Steel said. The NCA representative is an ongoing position. All current members can nominate for the new committee.  All nominations will be considered in accordance with the Committee Terms of Reference and the ACT Governance Principles – Appointments, Boards and Committees.

The Committee is appointed by the Minister for Planning and Land Management to advise on the naming of suburbs, public places, geographical features, and contentious naming matters.

“The government is committed to making sure that the naming of our roads, parks, and public places is consistent with a modern, inclusive and progressive Canberra,” Mr Steel said.

Last month, for instance, William Slim Drive was renamed Gundaroo Drive, following allegations the former Governor-General sexually abused children in the 1950s.

Indigenous Canberrans have also called for Black Mountain, Mount Ainslie, and other landmarks to be given their Ngunnawal names. An ACT Government spokesperson said that the Committee and the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate will consult with the United Ngunnawal Elders Council and the Winanggaay Ngunnawal Language Group about opportunities to restore traditional Aboriginal language names to local features.

The Public Place Names (Naming of public places) Guidelines 2021 provide that where a geographical feature has an existing introduced name, consideration shall be given to restoring traditional Aboriginal language to the feature by giving it dual names that recognise the traditional Aboriginal place name alongside the long-standing introduced name.

Nominations for the Committee close on Monday 22 March. You can find more information on the desired skills and details on how to apply on the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development website.

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