Whilst we have made some significant steps in reconciliation over the last century, we still have a way to go.
We saw the introduction of the vote, native title agreements and the introduction of truth telling but Australia is still the only country without a treaty with its first nations people. In the Uluru statement, we asked for our voice to be heard and there’s a fair way to go to do that.
A great way we can give people that voice is through Reconciliation Action Plans. They enable Indigenous people to have a seat at the table and to take part in discussing and deciding on policies, programs and funding to ensure they support Indigenous development.
When the representation in the population is only 3%, its important to maintain a system that brings those voices to the table.
In the last year, I’ve worked with MAX to set up both an advisory committee and a working group to develop and deliver the RAP.
The working group includes people from across the functions of the business including both Indigenous and non-Indigenous people as well
as senior people from the business.
Normally, we see Indigenous representation weaken as we go up the various levels of decision making.In this instance, multiple Indigenous people have a seat at the table, meaning the influence and message does not get diluted.
An important part of the approach we are taking in the RAP deliverables is deepening relationships and engagement with communities.
I’m fortunate to work with Indigenous communities across the country and what we look for in partnership and consultation in creating change is genuine intent.
Our frustration as Indigenous people is that for a long time we have felt like commodities and often engage in transactional relationships.
What we are looking for is a relationship built on honesty, transparency and accountability.
Improving that is a huge driver for me and part of the reason for my involvement.
It’s going to be an exciting year.