This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Reconciliation Australia. The theme for this year – In This Together – is about all Australians contributing towards bridging the gap. The aim is to collectively build relationships between the First Nations People and the wider community to foster a more equitable, and reconciled nation.
Our 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 & Torress 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;
- $8m 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 created a 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. Two students have been awarded so far, one from RMITand one UNSW and the first of the two has accepted a permanent position as a SHAPE Cadet, while the other continues with her internship.
- We carried out a Workabee at the SettlementCommunity 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.
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.