THE Aboriginal flag was hoisted atop the West Gate Bridge last Sunday, taking a permanent position alongside the Australian flag.

The bridge is located on Bunurong Country.

Since 2019, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags have flown on a rotational basis on the West Gate Bridge during Reconciliation and NAIDOC weeks.

With permission from Traditional Owners of Bunurong Country, Minister for Roads and Road Safety Ben Carroll, and Minister for Treaty and First Peoples Gabrielle Williams announced on Monday, July 4, the permanent position of the Aboriginal Flag on Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge.

The new flag arrangements signify Victoria’s commitment to acknowledging and celebrating First Peoples’ history, heritage and culture.

“The Aboriginal flag signifies unity, identity and resilience for Aboriginal people. We are very proud that we can now fly this important symbol above Melbourne,” Ms Williams said.

“Flying the flag follows our ongoing partnership with the First Peoples of Victoria on our path to Treaty and truth.”

Changes to the West Gate Bridge’s flags come just weeks after 3AW morning host Neil Mitchell said, “it’s time to change the flags flown on the West Gate Bridge”.

“They only fly the Aboriginal flag in NAIDOC Week. So perhaps you should put up another pole, provided it doesn’t cost $25 million like Sydney, or perhaps you’d take down the Victorian flag,” Neil Mitchell said.

“It’d be a good gesture.”

Following this call from Mr Mitchell, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews confirmed that discussions were underway to install a flag on the landmark bridge, saying the change “will be terrific.”

Opposition leader Matthew Guy is also in full support of the plan.

“It’s one of Australia’s national flags,” said Mr Guy.

“I always support our national institutions – the Aboriginal flag is one of our national institutions – so I support it being flown, and I respect it.”

Chairperson, Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation Kelly Lehmann said, “the Aboriginal flag represents inclusiveness, recognition and respect and having it flown permanently atop the West Gate Bridge demonstrates this commitment to Aboriginal communities in Victoria”.

“This is a significant first step, and we look forward to seeing ways in which the Torres Strait Islander flag can also be flown in the future,” Ms Lehmann added.

Mr Carroll revealed plans are underway to identify requirements and determine whether flying the Torres Strait Islander and Victorian State flags alongside the Aboriginal and Australian flags on the West Gate Bridge was feasible.

“We are continuing work, looking at how we can also fly the Torres Strait Islander and Victorian State flags above the West Gate Bridge at some point in the future,” he said.

This work will take into consideration current flag protocols, as well as the West Gate Bridge’s structural, safety and maintenance requirements.