City News

Petition for permanent Aboriginal flag on Harbour Bridge gathers momentum after Australia Day

A campaign to fly the Aboriginal flag on the Harbour Bridge permanently has gathered momentum since January 26. Photo: GoFundMe/Cheree Toka.

By DANIEL LO SURDO

A petition to fly the Aboriginal flag permanently above the Harbour Bridge has gathered new momentum following the appearance of the flag above the bridge on Australia Day.

The campaign has amassed over 177,000 signatures at the time of writing and calls on NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and Transport Minister David Elliott to fly a flag on the Harbour Bridge that “acknowledges and celebrates our ancient and authentic Aboriginal culture”.

In the last five days, there have been 39 new donations accumulating to $1570 as part of efforts to acquire a third flag pole for the Harbour Bridge in Toka’s ‘fund the flag’ campaign.

It comes after the flag was raised on January 26 for Australia Day, but was taken down early the following morning. This is customary with the Aboriginal flag on the Harbour Bridge, which is erected on one of the flagpoles 19 days every year, including Sorry Day, Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC Week and January 26.

After years of campaigning, Toka tabled her petition in NSW Parliament but was unable to gather meaningful support in the state chamber, with the Legislative Assembly resolving to not pursue the matter any further.

In response, Toka created her own fundraising page to gather the capital necessary to acquire a third flag pole for the Harbour Bridge, which is estimated to cost $300,000.

Toka has said that she will release all donations into a trust account and hold them until the construction is approved, adding that in the case that the third flagpole does not go ahead, she will direct the money to Indigenous causes fighting inequality (donors will also be entitled to a refund). As of writing, the page had gained over $44,000 in donations.

Toka began her campaign in 2017 and was named the 2021 Summer Hill Woman of the Year, with State Member for Summer Hill Jo Haylen calling Toka an “inspirational young woman”.

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