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First Nations Australians

Our nation’s story began more than 65,000 years ago. First Nations Australians are the foundation of our nation’s story and continue to maintain the world's oldest living culture.

On Australia Day our deep respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is infused into everything we undertake as part of our commemorations. But in doing so we acknowledge that 26 January is a date that, for many, is a reminder of the hurt caused by the arrival of Europeans to this land.

Our desire is that Australia Day is a time for inclusion, as well as an opportunity for greater understanding and reconciliation.

We hope it can be a day when Australians from all backgrounds come together to celebrate the success and optimism of our modern, tolerant and multicultural society; and the strength and resilience of First Nations Australians.

We commit to engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, elders and peoples about Australia Day activities in a true partnership. This includes seeking counsel and permission to draw on this vibrant and profound culture.

We acknowledge the traditional owners of the countries and lands on which Australia Day activities take place, particularly the Gadigal, who are the traditional owners of the lands around Sydney Harbour.

And more than that, we hope to engage all Australians at a deeper level. We continue to work towards the best expression of our national day activities, ensuring that every aspect of our day is welcoming, inclusive and representative of the enormous diversity of this great country.

Image caption: Performers from the Koomurri Aboriginal Dance Troupe during the Smoking Ceremony, which cleanses the way for new beginnings at the WugulOra Morning Ceremony.