January 26 is not a day of celebration for all Australians. The date marks the unlawful invasion and colonisation of Australia, which resulted in the genocide and oppression of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and dispossession from their land and culture.

The Women’s Health Goulburn North East team has collectively decided not to observe the January 26 public holiday as of 2022, recognising it not as a day of celebration but as a day of remembering, of mourning, survival, protest and resistance.

This year and into the future, we will work our regular hours on January 26, with many of our team members attending the 2022 Victorian NAIDOC online Invasion Day Dawn Service, and we will substitute another day for this public holiday, in accordance with our organisational employment agreements.

As an organisation, we will also use this opportunity to call for the abolition of the January 26 public holiday and for meaningful national action to right the wrongs that continue to be perpetrated against this country’s First Nations people.

This commitment will be reflected in our Cultural Safety Plan and future Reconciliation Action Plan and represents a tangible way for us to stand in solidarity with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and move towards a more caring, equal and just future that centres Indigenous voices, truthtelling and collective wellbeing.

Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

Find more information about the Victorian NAIDOC online Invasion Day Dawn Service and other Survival/Invasion Day events at https://www.foe.org.au/invasion_day_events_2022.