Australia Post has launched new packaging that includes an address field for traditional Aboriginal place names.
Underneath the receiver’s name field on packaging, customers are now prompted to include the traditional place name ahead of the receiver’s address.
The announcement was made as part of NAIDOC Week 2021, which runs from July 4 to 11.
The new packaging initiative was announced after Gomeroi woman Rachael McPhail petitioned Australia Post to include traditional place names in all addresses.
Her Change.org petition, which is still active, currently has over 20,000 signatures from people in support of the motion.
“Every place on this continent now known as Australia has an original place name” Ms McPhail states in the petition.
“I am calling for place names to be made part of the official address information in Australia, the same as postcodes and street names”.
Ms McPhail’s movement has received an outpouring of support from the community in the comment section of the petition.
“What an incredible achievement. You should be so proud. I know I am,” one person wrote.
“This is a small step in healing some major past (and ongoing) wrongs,” another commented.
“It’s standard practice to display local language names on Irish, Scots, Welsh and NZ signs. Why don’t we? Bravo,” wrote a third.
Australia Post packaging change a year in the making
In response to Ms McPhail’s efforts, Australia Post began making moves to address Indigenous Australians late last year.
To mark the beginning of NAIDOC week 2020, the postal service announced that 22 of its satchels’ labels will include an Acknowledgement of Country.
Australia Post then updated their addressing guidelines to include traditional place names.
“To acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land your item is being delivered on, you can include those place names in the address field," the new guideline read.
The Australia Post website was also updated to include a link to a map of Indigenous Australia so customers can research the traditional place names of the area they are sending a parcel to prior to posting.
Big businesses jump on board NAIDOC Week changes
As NAIDOC Week celebrations continue, many have been applauded for their approach to including traditional place names.
During their Sunday night bulletin, Channel 10 news showcased traditional place names of capital cities in their weather broadcast, in a move many labelled as "fantastic".
Social media giant Facebook also announced a partnership with Campfire x called the Connect to Country movement, which focuses on Indigenous storytelling and representation via targeted videos and posts.
Video platform TikTok has also announced a feature where Indigenous creators will be given spotlight, beginning with an exclusive live performance from Jessica Mauboy.
NAIDOC Week 2021: 'looking for significant and lasting change’
The theme of this year's NAIDOC Week is Heal Country.
“Healing Country is more than changing a word in our national anthem – it is about the historical, political, and administrative landscapes adapting to successfully empower and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, nations, and heritage,” the NAIDOC website reads.
"We are all looking for significant and lasting change.
“We cannot afford to let pass the very real opportunity that now presents itself for reform based on a fundamental change in the relationship Australia has with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.
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