Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt announced yesterday he wants to have dual names for the city as a greater step towards local reconciliation.
Under his proposal, the City of Fremantle would have a dual name recognising the Indigenous name for the area, Walyalup, aimed at promoting recognition of the indigenous culture.
“The idea came from our reconciliation action plan process,” he said.
“A hundred people got together and workshopped all the things they would like to do to help reconciliation in Fremantle and this was one of the ideas they came up with”.
Academics and members of the Fremantle Noongar community Anthony Kickett and Kim Farmer were supportive of the proposal, saying it was the right step towards greater reconciliation.
“We need to have this open discourse around what has occurred in the past,” Kickett said.
“Brad [Pettitt] and the City of Fremantle have been very proactive in decolonising that aspect of Fremantle.
“We should take that leap and be encouraged by this step to embrace the Noongar culture.”
Farmer maintained this was the best course of action to take at the present time.
“People use the argument to say there’s lots of other things that should be done and have money spent on before this, but they’re not going to get behind those other things to make them happen,” she said.
“It’s just a backhand swipe at positive action.”
Premier Mark McGowan said while he strongly supported indigenous reconciliation, he would not be acting on a name change for the port city anytime soon.
“Fremantle is Fremantle, I’m a traditionalist like that” he said on ABC Radio yesterday.