Holding the flag high

Published on

WA Police Air Wing

WA Police Air Wing recently unveiled the first of their aircraft to have the Aboriginal flag permanently placed on its tail as a mark of respect for the Aboriginal community, particularly when flying into parts of the State that are home to Aboriginal communities and/or sacred sites.

That aircraft was the Pilatus PC12, used for transportation throughout the State and it was unveiled at a ceremony held with Aboriginal Elders Aunty Trish and Aunty Neta, members of the Aboriginal Affairs Division and other community stakeholders.

The remainder of the Police Air Wing fleet of aircraft have since also had the Aboriginal flag added.

Head of Police Air Wing Operations, Senior Sergeant Dean Vivarelli, said the addition of the Aboriginal flag is seen as an important, symbolic way to show respect to the Aboriginal community and contribute to the WA Police Force Reconciliation Action Plan.

“The placement of the Aboriginal flag on our aircraft recognises Aboriginal people as the traditional custodians of the land we frequently travel to by air,” he said.

“Furthermore, we are at times required to enter parts of the State which are held as sacred sites to our Aboriginal Elders and their community members, such as during land searches, and we do so knowing that we have the blessing of the Elders and their communities to enter those lands to help save lives.

“This new flag initiative is an important part of our close relationship with the Aboriginal community. It adds to our efforts to build safer, stronger and sustainable relationships between WA Police Force and the Aboriginal community and we are proud to fly the flag across the sky.”

Whudjuk Noongar Elder Aunty Trish acknowledged the respect that Police Air Wing has shown towards the Aboriginal community.

“The inclusion of the Aboriginal flag has even greater significance, as it symbolises unity and national identity for Aboriginal people,” she said.

“Including the Aboriginal flag on the police aircraft demonstrates acknowledgement of the First Nations people, promoting a sense of community partnership and a commitment towards reconciliation.”

The flag initiative comes after the fleet of aircraft and their Jandakot hangar base received a blessing through a traditional smoking ceremony in June 2021.