What is Reconciliation and why do we need a plan?
‘Reconciliation’ is about working together to strengthen relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. It’s about acknowledging Australia’s true history and taking the time to walk, talk and work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to acknowledge and address past wrongs. Reconciliation is an important journey we can all go on, to reduce division in our communities, and find a just and equal society where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage are a proud part of our shared national identity.
Like all journeys, you need a map to get there and Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP) are that map. These nationally recognised plans enable organisations to make their contribution to a reconciled Australia, by highlighting public commitments an organisation will make to improve understanding and attitudes towards Aboriginal people. They also highlight the ways in which an organisation will work with Aboriginal people to improve opportunities and reduce disadvantage for Aboriginal people.
The three key themes of a Reconciliation Action Plan are:
These themes are considered the core pillars for which organisations assign their RAP actions and deliverables.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan (2020-2022)
We recognise true reconciliation is only possible if we work together to develop respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. That's why, over many months we have been working with key stakeholders including Banyule Traditional Custodian Elders and representatives from the Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, Aboriginal community partners, the Banyule Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee (BATSIAC), Local Aboriginal Networks (LANs), RAP Specialists, Reconciliation Australia, Aboriginal Service Stakeholders and Reconciliation Banyule to develop our draft Banyule Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Working with these vital stakeholders from the outset ensures that our RAP has been developed and guided through the lens of Aboriginal people, embedding Aboriginal voice, input and cultural perspectives into our plan.
Our draft Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) will be implemented over a two year period, between 2020-2022; using the three key themes of respect, relationships and opportunities. It outlines how we will work in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to:
- increase reconciliation awareness;
- promote respect for culture;
- improve Aboriginal service delivery;
- better socio-economic opportunities and;
- support positive cultural change in Banyule.
Our draft RAP focuses attention on strategies to address the barriers faced by Banyule’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and seeks to create more opportunities for participation and involvement. These strategies aim to bring all people within Banyule together, to foster respect and acceptance. In this way, the RAP will benefit the whole community and requires the participation of everyone in community to ensure success.
The RAP is one of four plans that are based on Council’s Inclusion, Access and Equity Framework (IAEF) and it aligns with the Council Plan (2017-2021) 'People' objective for Strong, Healthy and Inclusive communities.
Have your say
Reconciliation Australia provides organisations wanting to advance reconciliation, with a structured framework. to suit the stage they are at on their reconciliation journey.
There are four types of RAP frameworks:
We are focusing on an Innovate RAP and want to meet the following objectives and expectations set out by Reconciliation Australia:
1. RAP commitments should allow the organisation to be aspirational and innovative in order to help the organisation to gain a deeper understanding of its sphere of influence and establish the best approach to advancing reconciliation.
2. An Innovate RAP should focus on:
- developing and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
- engaging staff and stakeholders in reconciliation; and
- developing and piloting innovative strategies to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
3. Organisations need to report to Reconciliation Australia by September each year and publicly report on RAP progress to external stakeholders.
What we did
Extensive community and stakeholder engagement has been undertaken to ensure we meet both our Reconciliation commitments to Aborignal and Torres Strait Islander people and our obligations within Reconciliation Australia's Innovate RAP objectives.
- Banyule Traditional Custodians, Wurundjeri Woi-wurrung Elders, have been respectfully engaged and continue to be involved and informed on a quarterly basis.
- Banyule's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Commmittee (BATSIAC) has guided us throughout all development stages of the draft plan and will remain the primary working group to oversee, monitor and evaluate our progress for the duration of the RAP.
- Meetings and workshops with Aboriginal residents, Aboriginal Victorians (from first nations within and outside of Victoria), RAP Specialists, Aboriginal Service Stakeholders, Reconciliation Networks and Local Aboriginal Networks (LANs).
- Workshops and meeting with Council staff and teams accountable for progressing deliverables, to ensure staff understand expectations and feel appropriately resourced and supported to achieve the desired outcomes. This process has further supported organisational cultural capacity building and the linking of divisional Aboriginal strategic priorities to the draft RAP.
From this engagement, a range of exciting and innovative actions have been identified, and we are grateful for the generous contribution made.
We have a long-standing commitment to reconciliation which is grounded in public declarations such as Banyule’s Statement of Commitment to Indigenous Australians (2009) and the Banyule Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Plan (2017-2021) - a plan created to ensure Aboriginal community inclusion, access and equity. Overseen by the Banyule Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Advisory Committee (BATSIAC), this plan has provided valuable foundations for our RAP; some actions contained within the Banyule Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Plan (2017-2021) will be amalgamated into our RAP to ensure continuum of actions that require our long-term attention.
The design of our RAP directly supports the aims of the Victorian State Government’s overarching strategic framework, the Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2018-2023 (VAAF) and the Victorian Aboriginal Local Government Action Plan (VALGAP). These important strategies provide a clear roadmap for local government, Aboriginal organisations, Aboriginal Victorians and the Victorian Government to use, to advance self-determination at a community level. They also support Local Governments to develop Aboriginal strategies and partnerships which retain a focus on culture, respect and trust, awareness and engagement, governance and participation, and resourcing and funding.
Additionally, under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008, Local Government has a legislated role to provide opportunities for all to achieve maximum health and wellbeing. We acknowledge that the wellbeing of certain groups, including our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are impacted more than others and requires a greater level of attention.