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Australian city pulls tourism ad over ‘whitewash’ controversy

  • 12 June 2018
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Two women have lunch in a still from the Rockhampton tourism videoImage copyright ROCKHAMPTION REGIONAL COUNCIL
Image caption Aboriginal Australians criticised the advert for its lack of diversity

An Australian city has removed a tourism advert from the internet after it was accused of a “whitewash” of indigenous people and ethnic minorities.

The advert for Rockhampton, Queensland, was published on Monday and showed scenes of people and local attractions.

But indigenous Australians criticised it for depicting only white people, with one calling it “paternalistic”.

The city council removed the video and apologised following a backlash online.

Responding to some tweets, Rockhampton Regional Council said: “We should not be promoting the Rockhampton Region without celebrating the [local indigenous] Darumbal people, the area’s long history, and our diverse community.

“We apologise and we will do better.”

Rockhampton, about 600km (370 miles) north of Brisbane, is a city of about 80,000 people that promotes itself as Australia’s beef capital.

More than 7% of its population is indigenous, and the city has large Vietnamese, Indian and Filipino communities.

The advert had been part of efforts to bring “Rockhampton to the rest of the country and indeed the world”, the city’s mayor said on Monday, according to the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Several people pointed out its lack of diversity, including the absence of representations of indigenous culture.

One city councillor, Tony Williams, said it had been an oversight.

“As far as tourism goes, our indigenous culture is really prominent and we need to focus on that and include that as a priority,” he told local newspaper The Morning Bulletin.

Critics welcomed the decision to remove the video.

Last month, Rockhampton’s council was criticised for covering up Taiwanese flags painted by school students on a public artwork.

BBC News – Asia

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