Kiama's Deputy Mayor Warren Steel will undertake "cultural awareness training" after complaints about his reluctance to deliver an "acknowledgement to country" address at the recent Kiama Lifestyle, Business and Wedding Expo.
Cr Steel said he had inadvertently made a statement that was "trying to be humorous that backfired" in an unprepared speech at the opening of the wedding expo on August 23, where he was standing in for Kiama Mayor Brian Petschler.
Cr Steel said after reading the acknowledgement to country, he had said words to the effect of, "There you go, I've done it".
"I can assure you that I meant no malice and in no way meant to insult or hurt anybody," he said.
"I have offered my sincere apologies ... because of circumstances beyond my control I have found myself under extreme pressure and I was not thinking as responsibly as I should have been."
Cr Petschler said the council recognised the offence the comments had caused and took the matter very seriously.
He said the council had received two emails and two letters of complaint to which Cr Steel had replied.
Cr Petschler said Cr Steel had issued an unreserved apology to the council and the local Aboriginal community for any offence caused.
Cr Petschler said the council was committed to maintaining a positive, working relationship with the Aboriginal community.
Cr Kathy Rice was at the event and was immediately approached by people expressing their concerns.
Cr Rice said she was surprised that Cr Steel had displayed such insincerity.
All councillors would undertake the cultural awareness training following Cr Steel's comments, she said.
Cr Mark Way was also in attendance and said Cr Steel's comments had been inappropriate.
"He could have placed his words better," Cr Way said.
In 2007 Kiama Municipal Council was drawn into a national debate when former councillor Hamish East questioned the appropriateness of young children - including his eight-year-old son - singing the Sorry Song at NAIDOC Week celebrations, saying controversial political issues should not "be forced down the throats of our children".
Then in 2008 Kiama council's conduct committee decided not to uphold a complaint of racial discrimination against Cr Steel.
The complaint was lodged by Space Real Estate principal Sudha Sudharshan, based on comments Cr Steel made while visiting his Terralong Street business after the two men had a falling out over a tenancy issue.
The committee decided against taking action because Cr Steel's behaviour occurred outside the ambit of council's code of conduct because the incident did not relate to the councillor's activities or functions.
After 17 years on Kiama Council, Cr Steel was elected deputy mayor for the first time last year after four unsuccessful bids for mayor and eight for deputy.