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Dom the Builder: Premier goes ‘to Bunnings’ to get $25M Aboriginal flag built for bridge

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Dominic Perrottet says he’ll head to Bunnings to have a $25m flagpole built to hang the Aboriginal flag on Sydney Harbor Bridge – as the internet explodes over the cost: ‘Get a second quote, bro’

  • Dominic Perrottet goes ‘to Bunnings’ to have Aboriginal flag built for bridge
  • $25 million to be used for engineering and construction of third flagpole
  • Aboriginal flag has previously flown temporarily on Harbor Bridge
  • Kamilaroi wife Cheree Toka has been campaigning for it for three years

The NSW Prime Minister has said he will “go to Bunnings himself” to ensure the new $25 million Aboriginal flag flies over Sydney’s Harbor Bridge as soon as possible.

Dominic Perrottet also defended the flagpole charges, saying he “climb up there and, if necessary, put up the pole yourself.

Dom ‘the Builder’ was asked on Channel 10’s The Project why the process of adding a third flagpole to the Harbor Bridge is taking so long.

‘I don’t know. But apparently it does. I’m even surprised it’s taking so long. I mean, I made the announcement a while ago and the first message that came back was that it will take two years to do it,” he said.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is pictured with his wife Helen and one of their seven children. He is determined that a permanent Aboriginal flag will fly over the Sydney Harbor Bridge by the end of the year

Perrottet is so eager to have the flag hoisted permanently on the bridge that he is willing to ‘go to Bunnings himself and climb up there and set up the pole.

“But apparently it is (expensive), apparently that’s the cost, and I think it’s an important decision we made.”

The Aboriginal flag will be flown permanently on the bridge by the end of the year after a five-year grassroots campaign.

Kamilaroi wife Cheree Toka led the push to put the flag in a prime position on Sydney Harbor 365 days a year by organizing successful petitions and raising $300,000 for the cost.

Last week, Perrottet pledged another $25 million for construction work on the bridge to install the third flagpole.

He said displaying the flag next to the Australian and NSW state flags is an important gesture towards Closing the Gap and tackling inequality.

“Our Indigenous history must be celebrated and recognized so that young Australians understand the rich and enduring culture we have here with our past,” Perrottet said on Sunday.

“The permanent installation of the Aboriginal flag on the Sydney Harbor Bridge will do just that and is a continuation of the healing process as part of the wider movement towards reconciliation.”

Indigenous activist Cheree Toka (pictured) has been fighting for three years to keep the Aboriginal flag flying permanently on Sydney's Harbor Bridge and was elated at the announcement of the funding

Indigenous activist Cheree Toka (pictured) has been fighting for three years to keep the Aboriginal flag flying permanently on Sydney’s Harbor Bridge and was elated at the announcement of the funding

The Aboriginal flag will be flown permanently on the Sydney Harbor Bridge having previously only flown on special occasions such as Australia Day and NAIDOC week (pictured)

The Aboriginal flag will be flown permanently on the Sydney Harbor Bridge having previously only flown on special occasions such as Australia Day and NAIDOC week (pictured)

The flagpoles are about 20 meters high, the same as a six-storey building, while the flags require a mounting strong enough to withstand all weather conditions.

Transport for NSW and Aboriginal Affairs will engage with key stakeholders about the project.

Mr Perrottet had previously pledged to place the Aboriginal flag on the Harbor Bridge in February.

However, the funding provides a guarantee that it will be available before next year, after consultants initially said the engineering and construction work could take up to two years.

Ms. Toka (pictured) ran a successful petition and raised over $300,000 for the cost

Ms. Toka (pictured) ran a successful petition and raised over $300,000 for the cost

Ms Toka said she was delighted with the success of the campaign.

“I think this is very important for us as indigenous peoples, to achieve reconciliation through recognition,” she said.

“While I know a flag is symbolic, it does spark a conversation about the injustice happening to our people in Country, and it shows that we’re making progress,” she told NITV News.

The passionate advocate has now set her sights on other places to display the flag after a similar win at Sydney’s Inner West Council this year.

She also said the campaign is not over yet and the next step is a change in protocol to ensure future prime ministers cannot remove the flag.

The Aboriginal flag hanging on the bridge was discussed in parliament earlier in 2019, but was beaten back because the construction of a third flag was 'too expensive' (photo: Ms Toka and supporters)

The Aboriginal flag hanging on the bridge was discussed in parliament earlier in 2019, but was beaten back because the construction of a third flag was ‘too expensive’ (photo: Ms Toka and supporters)

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