The NSW government is scrapping a $25 million plan to install an additional flagpole on Sydney Harbor Bridge to permanently fly the Aboriginal flag.
Instead, the Aboriginal flag replaces the NSW flag atop the Sydney Harbor Bridge; and the $25 million earmarked funding will be reallocated to Close the Gap initiatives.
NSW Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet confirmed the change in the Sydney Morning Herald, calling it a “practical and pragmatic solution that makes sense”.
The Aboriginal flag has flown over the Sydney Harbor Bridge for NAIDOC Week for the past week and now the decision has been made to leave it there permanently.
The cost of the additional $25 million flagpole installation was: †
The cost needed to cover the arrangements to ensure the flagpole would be sturdy enough to be a permanent installation.
“The flagpoles are about 20 meters high, the same as a six-storey building, and the flags themselves are about 9 meters by 4.5 meters, requiring a mount strong enough to withstand all weather conditions,” a statement read. read last month.
Calls to permanently place the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbor Bridge gained momentum five years ago, led by Kamilaroi woman Cheree Toka.
“I think this is really important for us as Indigenous people, to achieve reconciliation through recognition, and while I know that a flag is symbolic, it does spark a conversation about the unjust things that are happening on Country to our people , and it shows that we are making progress,” she in February.
After previous NSW governments rejected the proposal, Perrottet said last month he believed there should be no further delay.
“Our Indigenous history needs to be celebrated and recognized so that young Australians understand the rich and enduring culture we have here with our past,” he said.
“The permanent installation of the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbor Bridge will do just that and is a continuation of the healing process as part of the wider movement towards reconciliation.”
Currently, the bridge has two flagpoles – one for the Australian flag and the other for the state flag, which will now be replaced by the Aboriginal flag.
The NSW flag will be moved to the redeveloped Macquarie Street precinct in Sydney’s CBD.