Dr MEHREEN FARUQI ( 14:55 ): My question without notice is directed to the Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water, and Minister for Trade and Industry, representing for Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. Given that more than 27,000 people have now signed an epetition calling on the New South Wales Government to fly the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbour Bridge permanently, will the Government make this a reality?
The Hon. NIALL BLAIR (Minister for Primary Industries, Minister for Regional Water, and Minister for Trade and Industry) ( 14:56 ): I thank the honourable member for her question. It is quite interesting that we made a reference in this House to consider the role that epetitions may play in this Chamber in the future. It is something that the Leader of the Government was able to do in the last sitting week. Obviously it is something that the House should look at as a way of moving with the times. I know the member’s question refers directly to an epetition. I welcome that and look forward to this Chamber being part of a new way of dealing with such an issue.
As the member quite rightly stated, the question was directed to my colleague the Hon. Melinda Pavey, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight and is a question I will take on notice. If I do not get as much information out as I need to in question time, I will take it on notice. But I think I have enough information to probably not take it on notice and to answer it right now. I am advised and am aware of this morning’s media coverage of a petition calling for the Aboriginal flag to be flown on the Sydney Harbour Bridge along with the Australian and New South Wales flags. I note that today I am wearing the official tartan of New South Wales, following on with the theme.
The presence of the Aboriginal flag would be an asset to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and confirm the importance and significance of Aboriginal people and culture to the State. The Aboriginal flag is currently raised in place of the New South Wales flag during NAIDOC Week. I understand the New South Wales Government has previously received representations from the community, including the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Northern Sydney Region Reconciliation Network, asking that the Aboriginal flag be flown on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
I know that this issue has been raised with the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight and it is currently being investigated. That is the latest information available on the issue. Roads and Maritime Services is currently investigating the issue.