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QLD Tourism Campaign Pulled Due to 'Overpowering Whiteness'

"We as Aboriginal people have survived. It didn't represent the community I grew up in."

by VICE Staff
13 June 2018, 5:31am

Screengrab via 

A tourism marketing video promoting Rockhampton in Queensland has been deleted just hours after it was posted on social media, the ABC's Emilia Terzon reports.

Commissioned by the Rockhampton Regional Council's bureau, Advance Rockhampton, the $6,000 video led to several immediate complaints for its failure to feature or acknowledge the region's diversity and social history. More than seven percent of Rockhampton's population is Indigenous.

"The first reaction I had was just how it whitewashes the history of the Rockhampton region and not only our proud Darumbal history, but also the history of the South Sea Islander people," local Darumbal and South Sea Islander woman Amy McQuire told the ABC.

"It was the overpowering whiteness of everything—they're talking about [Rockhampton] being unique and being in the sunshine, and they're showing coffee and the gym."

"To me, it's about the history of this country and the fact that we as Aboriginal people have survived," McQuire continued. "[...] it didn't represent the community I grew up in."

The council apologised via its Twitter account, saying it had taken down the video:

In a press release for the tourism video, prior to its deletion, Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow said the campaign was designed to introduce "Rockhampton to the rest of the country and indeed the world".

"The first video we've produced is all about the lifestyle our region has to offer and the Fitzroy River features heavily with the fishing, the rowing sports and the spectacular views," Strelow explained in a media release. "Our Riverside precinct also stars along with the stunning Mount Archer as well as local restaurants and attractions."

Speaking to the ABC, Strelow later referred to the video as "Caucasian-centric" and said she had decided to take it down. "I'm here to say mea culpa," she said. "It's obvious that there has been a real shortage or a dearth of inclusive material, anything that really represents what our community is really made of."

Just one month ago, as reported by the ABC, Rockhampton's council confessed to covering up Taiwanese flags painted by school kids ahead of a beef industry event, because it adhered to the One-China policy.