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Monument to First Nations people unveiled

A monument to Australia’s First Nations people is to be unveiled in Sydney, while Queensland has moved to make government record-keeping more inclusive as National Reconciliation Week continues.

Indigenous artist Judy Watson will showcase her new artwork bara, which honours clans of the Eora Nation and Elders past and present, two years after it was commissioned by the City of Sydney.

The six-metre installation is inspired by shell fishing hooks handcrafted and used by local Aboriginal women for generations and sits on the Tarpeian Lawn overlooking Sydney Harbour.

Ms Watson, a Waanyi woman who once lived in Sydney, said she was thrilled to unveil her work during National Reconciliation Week, which celebrates Indigenous history and fosters discussions on reconciliation.

“This is incredibly important because it’s a momentous occasion within our calendar,” Ms Watson said.

“It’s a recognition of what it means for Aboriginal people living in this country to be recognised and for non-Aboriginal people living here to recognise our history and to place importance on it.

“I think that at this moment in time, that seems to be happening more and more. I was at the Vivid festival launch last night and seeing the dancers and performers, they’re just so energising and inspirational.”

City of Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore will be among the guest speakers.

Meanwhile, in Ms Watson’s home state of Queensland, a push for better government record-keeping has gained momentum and the legislation will undergo a formal review.

Communities and Housing Minister Leeanne Enoch said it highlighted the government’s commitment to ensuring that all Queenslanders were fairly represented.

“Written in 2002, the Public Records Act does not take into account the digital advancements of the past 20 years and does not adequately represent all Queenslanders,” Ms Enoch said.

“The act predates the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples 2007 so does not recognise the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples nor does it provide any special provisions for First Nations communities.”

Retired Supreme Court justice John Byrne will lead the review.

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