We believe January 26 isn’t a fitting date for an inclusive celebration of our nation.

It marks the start of non-Aboriginal Australia’s violent dispossession and genocide of the traditional custodians of our country. Although First Nations peoples have survived and remained strong, the lasting, traumatic effects are still unresolved.

YACVic staff and Board share a vision in which all Australians understand and value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures as a central part of our national identity. We can only achieve this if non-Aboriginal Australians honestly acknowledge our country’s history and make active efforts to reconcile past, and ongoing, injustices.

As Victoria’s youth peak body, working in close partnership with the representative body for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our state, YACVic has a responsibility to lead our sector in clear alliance with First Nations peoples. ‘Recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ is a core ethical youth work practice responsibility in Victoria. We also acknowledge and support the thousands of young Victorians driving the debate for a different, more inclusive date for a national celebration.

This is why our office will open on January 26. We’re giving our staff the option to work this day and swap it for another day off. We urge our members and other organisations to do the same.

Let’s take steps together to make our national day one that all Australians can be proud of.