Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures, and achievements. To explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation – as individuals, families, communities, organisations and, more importantly, as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
SHAPE’s journey towards Reconciliation began in 2015 with the Federal Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP). Designed to increase participation of Indigenous peoples in employment and procurement, the IPP sparked a desire to understand how SHAPE could play a role to increase the participation of Indigenous people and businesses in construction.
SHAPE’s vision towards Closing the Gap led them to implement their ‘Reflect’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2017, followed by their ‘Innovate’ RAP in 2019.
Throughout the last two years, SHAPE has achieved all targets from its Innovate RAP and has moved on to developing the next stage of their RAP journey, the ‘Stretch’ RAP.
In honour of this year’s National Reconciliation Week, five of SHAPE’s branches focused their efforts toward supporting local Indigenous communities for SHAPE’s Annual Give Back Week. This forms part of SHAPE’s ongoing mission toward providing equal opportunities and closing the socio-economic gap between Indigenous peoples and the broader Australian community.
The SHAPE SA team travelled to Monarto in South Australia on Friday, 20 May to assist the Aboriginal Sobriety Group (ASG) with the refurbishment of vegetable patches at the Lakalinjeri Tumbetin Waal (LTW) Rehabilitation Centre. The LTW Rehabilitation Centre provides a 12 to 24-week live-in programme that assists men recovering from alcohol or other substance misuse lifestyles. It enables them to form routines, participate in activities, build relationships and to reconnect with Country.
SHAPE SA alongside the team at Birubi, an Aboriginal owned and operated civil construction company, and residents from LTW Rehabilitation Centre refurbished existing plots and added two greenhouse areas with raised garden beds, soil, gravel, and planting ‘garden to plate’ vegetables in all areas. SHAPE SA also managed to refresh an existing pergola and seating area with left over gravel and shade cloth.
On 14 May, the ACT team hosted a book exchange and raised donations for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF). The ILF is a national charity working with remote Indigenous communities across Australia that aims to fulfil requests such as sourcing culturally relevant books and providing programs to support Communities to create and publish their stories in languages of their choice.
In honour of this year’s National Reconciliation Week, five of SHAPE’s branches focused their efforts toward supporting local Indigenous communities for SHAPE’s Annual Give Back Week.
The SHAPE NT team partnered with Anindilyakwa Land Council to donate repurposed SHAPE laptops to schools on both Groote Eylandt and Bickerton Island, off the Northern Territory coast. The SHAPE NT team have a strong connection to this region after visiting in 2021 to refurbish Anindilyakwa Land Council’s office. During this time the team were warmly welcomed by the local community, and after visiting the local schools, were moved to assist the students with their education needs.
On 3 June 2022, SHAPE WA, in partnership with Reconciliation WA, participated in their Walk for Reconciliation in honour of National Reconciliation Week. Reconciliation WA’s Walk for Reconciliation was held in Kaarta Koomba (Kings Park). The walk featured truth telling sessions, opportunities for reflection and cultural entertainment.
The SHAPE WA team volunteered on the day with a variety of tasks including setup, carpark marshalling, way finding, meeting, greeting, and registering of participants, walk leaders and then the clean-up.
Barnardos is an organisation that supports vulnerable children through early intervention and prevention programs and education centres, such as the Yurungai Learning Centre. The after-school homework support service is open weekdays for primarily Indigenous children attending primary school. The centre provides the educational and developmental support the children may need, plus an afternoon meal.
Over the course of the week, the NSW SHAPIANS and subcontractors completed a refurbishment of the centre, its kitchen, and bathrooms. The team also donated new storage units, tables, and chairs to provide a more comfortable learning environment. On the last day of the project, the team donated children’s books gathered from their book drive and filled the learning space with décor and kitchen necessities.
The following week on 2 June, the SHAPE NSW team was given the chance to host the children and staff from Yurungai Learning Centre in their office. The children presented a cultural performance for the team followed by an interactive painting activity for the staff with the children.
We would like to extend a huge thank you to the following businesses who generously donated their time and resources to help us: