Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country at your Business Event

Melbourne Convention Bureau respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and cultures. Recognising Traditional Owners is important, and it’s encouraged for all business events to equally pay its respects.

Melbourne has always been a significant gathering place for the groups of the Kulin Nation and there are two ways for business events to formally recognise Traditional Owners through a Welcome to Country where possible and an Acknowledgement of Country.

Welcome to Country

Protocols for welcoming visitors to Country have always been a part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. Boundaries were clear and crossing into another group’s Country required a request for permission to enter. 

When permission was granted, visitors were welcomed and offered safe passage and protection of their spiritual being during the journey.

A Welcome to Country can only be performed by the Traditional Owners of the land delegates are standing on for a business event. It recognises the unique position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australian culture and history and is a significant customary gesture.

The ceremony welcomes all people at the event to the land. In turn, attendees are asked to respect the land and traditions of those who walked upon it in the past, present and future.

Acknowledgement of Country

An Acknowledgement of Country should be given by the first speaker at an event after a Welcome to Country if one has been organised, or in the absence of one. Anyone can make an Acknowledgement of Country. This acknowledgement allows the wider community (Indigenous and non-Indigenous) to show respect for and acknowledge the Traditional Owners' customary place within Australian society today.

Opportunities to make an Acknowledgement of Country:

  • When a local Traditional Owner is not available to do a Welcome to Country,
  • At any hosted meeting or business event such as a seminar or conference
  • At the beginning of all annual general meetings, council, and board meetings.

Take the time to Acknowledge Country or including a Welcome to Country at your next business event, to remind people that we live and work on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands. 

Get in touch with MCB today who can help facilitate organising a Welcome to Country by a Traditional Owner at your next business event in Melbourne.