Reconciliation journey continues

Council has noted the City of Greater Geelong’s progress towards implementing the Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) but acknowledged more needs to be done to advance Reconciliation in the region.

In 2020, the Council adopted its first RAP with the aim of strengthening relationships and building links with First Nations communities and organisations, to guide policies, programs, employment and investment.

The Reflect RAP prioritises the social and emotional wellbeing of First Nations peoples, while also focusing on strategies to address social inequities and racism. The City has delivered 34 out of the 50 actions.

Reconciliation Australia is aware of the setbacks caused by the pandemic and is pleased with the progress made by the City over the last two years, endorsing the Reflect RAP.

Key highlights include:

  • Council introducing the inaugural First Nations Heritage Grant into the Community Grants program;
  • The City’s annual NAIDOC Week celebrations;
  • Development of strong cultural place making at the City’s new Wurriki-Nyal civic precinct building; and
  • The success of the organisation’s first ever Wada-ngal festival.

As part of the progress review, feedback from the City, external consultants, RAP working group and Kilangitj Aboriginal Advisory Committee recommended a number of ways forward for the organisation, including:

  • Continued support of City employees in developing their knowledge of First Nations local history of the region;
  • Development and implementation of a multi-strategy approach to reduce race-based discrimination;
  • Development of localised cultural training resources for employees and councillors when engaging with First Nations organisations and communities;
  • Participation in the Geelong Aboriginal Employment Taskforce alongside other workforce leaders from major organisations in Greater Geelong.

Reconciliation Australia is supportive of the City moving onto the new Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan. It is anticipated that any uncompleted actions from the Reflect RAP will form part of this next stage of the process, as the City continues on its Reconciliation journey.

Greater Geelong Mayor Peter Murrihy

The City has made progress with the Reflect RAP.

I look forward to seeing the organisation embracing many more opportunities in the Innovate RAP to strengthen its relationship with our First Nations Peoples.

With the biggest First Nations community in Victoria, we have much to learn from the incredible wealth of knowledge, history and culture available to us in the region.

Reconciliation is everyone’s business.

Cr Jim Mason, chair of the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio

Reconciliation is an ongoing journey that grows and develops over time.

I deeply thank the members of the RAP working group and Kilangitj Aboriginal Advisory Committee for their efforts, as they’ve been instrumental in providing invaluable guidance and advice to the City as we work on meaningful action.

The RAP is a chance for us to listen deeply, review our processes and services, and find new ways to make Greater Geelong as inclusive as it can be to our First Nations People.

This will be a long process but I hope it encourages stronger and deeper relationships with our Wadawurrung Traditional Owners and the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

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