This week is National Reconciliation Week (May 27 – June 3). It’s an important opportunity for all Australians to learn more about the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as we continue on the journey of reconciliation.
“At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians”.Reconciliation Australia: ‘What is Reconciliation?’
National Reconciliation Week 2019
National Reconciliation Week (NRW) takes place between May 27 and June 3 every year. These dates mark two landmark achievements in Australia’s reconciliation journey: the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision, respectively. Events are held all across Australia to recognise the significant steps that we have taken towards reconciliation and reflect on what is yet to be achieved in terms of Reconciliation Australia‘s five dimensions of reconciliation: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity and unity.
‘Grounded In Truth: Walk Together With Courage’
The theme of NRW 2019 aims to bring about necessary dialogue around our nation’s history. In the words of Reconciliation Australia‘s CEO, Karen Mundine: “Our nation’s past is reflected in the present, and the legacy of past traumas will continue to play out in our future unless we heal historical wounds”. Furthermore, “According to the 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer, 80 per cent of Australians believe it is important to undertake formal truth telling processes”. The 2018 Australian Reconciliation Barometer provides evidence of the progress that is being made towards achieving a just and reconciled Australia, as well as highlighting the work that still needs to be done in order to embrace a deeper reconciliation process; one which includes addressing the issues proposed in the the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
“Reconciliation is ultimately about relationships and like all effective relationships the one between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians must be grounded in truth… there can be no trust without an honest, open conversation about our history.”Karen Mundine – CEO, Reconciliation Australia
Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP)
Over 1,000 organisations across Australia have adopted Reconciliation Action Plans as part of their commitment to the reconciliation journey. Last year, the ARA Group launched an ‘Innovate’ RAP for 2018-2020, which aims to provide solid opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their businesses to succeed. Edward Federman, ARA’s Managing Director and Executive Chair maintained that “as an Australian company that operates nationwide, ARA recognises the importance of developing respectful relationships and creating meaningful opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, throughout our organisation and the communities in which we operate”.
Our RAP Steering Committee meets once a month to track ARA’s progress across the Group and ensure we are meeting our objectives. General Manager of ARA Indigenous Services, Suzanne Grech, was instrumental in launching ARA’s RAP and is proud to report that three quarters of our commitments are currently active and she is pleased with the collaborative effort and dedication shown by the Steering Committee since our RAP was launched last year.
We encourage all ARA staff to attend events this week in honour of National Reconciliation Week and take this opportunity to learn more about our history, our RAP commitments, and the role that we play as individuals and as a Group in shaping a reconciled Australia.