The City’s first ever Reconciliation Action Plan, adopted by Council in April this year, has now been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.
Councillors and City employees were very pleased to receive news of this milestone after working closely with the Wadawurrung Traditional owners and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to develop the plan which will pave the way towards reconciliation both within our organisation and the community that we serve.
While COVID-19 restrictions have made plans for a community celebration difficult, the City intends to hold a celebration event after restrictions have been eased and the Council election period has been concluded.
The plan is a Reflect RAP which focuses on fostering stronger relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and non-Indigenous people and also ensures equality of opportunity and access in all City dealings with the community. Future RAPs will be based on the subsequent themes of Innovate, Stretch and Elevate.
The RAP is based on priorities and aspirations identified through consultation with the Wadawurrung Traditional owners and the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, City staff and the wider community. There are 50 actions outlined including:
Promoting reconciliation through our sphere of influence;
Promoting positive race relations through anti-discrimination strategies;
Increasing understanding, value and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, knowledge and rights through cultural learning;
Creating a physical environment within the Greater Geelong region that is respectful, welcoming and inclusive of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples; and
Improving employment outcomes by increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment, retention and professional development.
Some actions have been completed since starting the plan’s process last year. Our second plan will be developed during the course of 2021/22 demonstrating our ongoing commitment to reconciliation and fostering strong relationships.
Cr Stephanie Asher, Mayor said:
“We are delighted that Reconciliation Australia has endorsed our first Reconciliation Action Plan. This is an important milestone for our whole community and we are very grateful for the assistance we have received from the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the development of this plan.
We commend the RAP working group comprising Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation, Wathaurong Aboriginal Cooperative, community members and City representatives, for this achievement and we look forward to bringing the plan to life by enacting the actions contained within it.”
Wadawurrung Traditional Owner, Norm Eccles said:
“Reconciliation is vital for all people, to learn about the Wadawurrung history of the land they live on, to know the stories and appreciate the Country, and importantly for organisations to be committed to walking together for reconciliation and endorsing this Reconciliation Action Plan.”
City representative on the RAP working group, Kaley Nicholson said:
To have finally received endorsement from Reconciliation Australia after working on our RAP for the last 18 months feels nothing short of amazing and I’d like to acknowledge all those who contributed along the way.
Our Reflect RAP sets the strategic direction that will underpin the work we do and guide the City towards reconciliation, creating a culturally safe and inclusive workplace for our staff and those in the community who access our services.