Australia Post has celebrated NAIDOC Week by supporting a campaign that encourages the use of traditional place names when sending mail.
The campaign has been led by Gomeroi woman Rachael McPhail who began petitioning Australia post two months ago after she came up with the idea to include traditional place name on post items.
Ms McPhail told NITV News that she was happy Australia Post had decided to support the campaign in time for NAIDOC Week celebrations.
“They have been in support of my campaign since the start but I am excited that they have publicly come out to endorse it. It’s a nice message for them to send during NAIDOC Week, to come out and openly support First Nations People,” said Ms McPhail.
While Australia Post’s public endorsement of the campaign offers an opportunity for the development of an accurate and comprehensive database of all traditional place names which would be verified by elders in communities across Australia, there has been some criticism on social media about the company owning and controlling the database of Indigenous localities.
Ms McPhail acknowledged that whilst the comments have a valid point, she believed Australia Post are the organisation best placed to establish the database.
“They have one stakeholder which is the Commonwealth government, I also think it is the responsibility of the government to ensure that we have a record of what places were called prior to colonisation as a show of respect,” she said.
The postal service has provided information on its website about how to formally include traditional place names in an address, noting that it is an effective way “to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land your item is being delivered on”.
The website says for those who receive items, recipients can also include a Traditional Place name when providing your delivery address both online and in person.
A spokesperson for Australia Post told NITV News on Thursday that the organisation is proud of its history of promoting celebrating Indigenous culture and would continue to contribute to long-term reconciliation.
By backing the campaign, the organisation hoped to pay its respect to the Traditional Custodians of the land, said the spokesperson.