Reconciliation Action Plan closes gap
Cook Island and its cultural connections to the local Bundjalung Aboriginal people was the backdrop of last week’s launch of Tweed Shire Council’s first Reconciliation Action Plan 2018–2020 (RAP).
The inaugural RAP has been developed over the past year between Tweed Shire Council and the Aboriginal Advisory committee to Council (AAC), which celebrates its 20th year of working with Council this year. As National Reconciliation Week 2018 drew to a close, RAP Champion and Council’s Director Community and Natural Resources, Tracey Stinson said the RAP was Council’s commitment to reconciliation.
“The RAP is our genuine commitment to encourage and support all our staff to make a difference through our actions,” Ms Stinson said.
“It’s for our staff and by our staff. All the ideas and input of the working group were used to develop the document.
“It’s so much more than just words on a page, or representational targets. It’s about tangible changes that will make a difference and clearly demonstrate our respect and pride in our Tweed history, our commitment to protect cultural heritage and to honour the significant contribution of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community today.
“We intend to walk the talk and take action – it’s not meant to be a plan that sits on the shelf. It’s about measuring our progress along the way and being transparent and accountable for that.
AAC and RAP Committee member, Jackie Mcdonald said the RAP was a set of agreed principles by which the Aboriginal community and Council would engage with one another.
“It’s a plan towards our relationship into the future. It’s important because we need to be confident that our advice to Council is truly valued and respected, so that our relationship is sound with Council,” Ms Mcdonald said.
Here are some comments from members of the the RAP Working Group:
Administrative Officer, Waste and RAP Working Group member, Yvette van Amstel: “The RAP is an opportunity for Council to be open in its dialogue towards the Tweed’s oldest communities, to create meaningful, respectful relationships and to improve services.”
Ganger Parks and RSP working Group member, Erika Chadburn: “It’s important to have a RAP to help management have cultural inclusiveness in the back of their mind when they’re making important decisions. As an indigenous person myself, it is important to feel Council is working towards closing the gap there and recognises the cultural importance there in the community and genuinely wants to embrace that.”
To view the RAP, go to www.tweed.nsw.gov.au/atsi and for a video outlining the RAP and its significance, see Council’s Youtube channel or go to https://youtu.be/ojakllul1iu
Celebrating the launch of the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) are (from left) Aboriginal Advisory Committee members Lowena Williams, Uncle Victor Slockee, Jackie Mcdonald, RAP Working Group member Barry Chadburn, RAP champion Tracey Stinson and RAP...