NAIDOC Week 2020 – Always Was. Always Will Be.
Always Was. Always will Be. The 2020 National NAIDOC Week theme has been developed to shine a focus on the length of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander occupation of Australia. NAIDOC Week is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of First Nations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Peoples and their contributions to the community.
We are so privileged to have the opportunity to learn from our First Nations people, who’s stories have been passed down through art, dance, story and song for generations. Their stories tell of the continuous occupation of being here when time began, as part of the Dreaming – past, present, and future. Anthropologists and archaeologists have dated Aboriginal sites to be hundreds of thousands of years old recording some of these sites as being the oldest on this planet.
SHAPE’s Journey towards Reconciliation began in 2015 when we first encountered the Australian Federal Governments Indigenous procurement policy. This Federal Government initiative, designed to increase participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in employment and procurement, sparked a desire to understand how SHAPE could play a role and respond more fully to the requirements and spirit of the policy.
SHAPE’s vision towards Closing the Gap led us to implement our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) which outlined the following;
- Establishment of new relationships with Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander peoples and businesses.
- Events that have led to an increased understanding of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and stories.
- Development of recommendations to support greater participation and employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples at SHAPE.
- Identification of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to connect with.
This year we have taken a step further and moved towards our Innovate Reconciliation Action plan which aims to;
- Continue to facilitate and encourage our people to celebrate and participate in National Reconciliation and NAIDOC weeks.
- Develop and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations to support positive outcomes.
- Raise internal and external awareness of our RAP to promote Reconciliation across our business and sector.
- Promote positive race relations through anti-discrimination strategies.
- Engage employees in continuous cultural learning opportunities to increase understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements.
- Engage employees in understanding the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols, such as Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country, to ensure there is shared meaning.
- Provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to engage with their culture and communities by celebrating National Reconciliation and NAIDOC Weeks.
- Visibly demonstrate respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in our workplace.
- Provide opportunities to improve and increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment outcomes within our workplace.
- Provide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity within our organisation.
- Provide capacity building opportunities with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
- Provide opportunities to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
At SHAPE, we have a vision of an Australia where there are equal opportunities for all, where all Australians that have not had a fair go deserve the chance to experience better.
To date our impact and efforts have contributed towards;
- Over $15m investments with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business, including working with Indigenous subcontractors and suppliers to deliver Tika Tirka, the student accommodation in South Australia.
- We continued our Student Award program, called “SHAPE Connect”, which grants indigenous students a cash prize and paid internship, with the option of transitioning to our SHAPE Cadet Experience Program. Three students have been awarded so far, two from RMIT and one UNSW and the first of the two have accepted a permanent position as a SHAPE Cadet, while the other continues with her internship.
- We carried out a Workabee at the Settlement Community Centre in Darlington in 2019.
- Donated used office furniture and refurbished laptops to Bamara, an organisation that helps young people and mums get into the workplace.
- Collected and donated over 500 back to school packs for the Opportunity Hub in Dubbo and Wellington
- Donated a frame whiteboard to the Macleay Vocational College in Kempsey
We encourage all Australians to seek out information regarding initiatives driving towards Indigenous health equality. Together we can share this message and work as a community towards achieving this vital goal.
We invite you to join us in celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on a LinkedIn live round table discussion and Q&A.
LinkedIn Live Event
Thursday 19th November 2020, 12.30pm (Sydney Time)
via SHAPE Australia’s LinkedIn Page.
Hosted by Jodie Taylor from Supply Nation and starring former professional rugby league player David Liddiard, former Sydney Swans player Michael O’Loughlin and goalkeeper for Sydney FC, Jada Matthyssen-Whyman, we’ll be discussing their experience working on and off the field.