Department stretches its commitment to reconciliation

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources today launched ‘Growing Reconciliation: Reconciliation Action Plan 2017-2019’ and along with it a renewed commitment to reconciliation in the organisation and across its sphere of influence.

Secretary of the department, Daryl Quinlivan, Deputy Secretary, Lyn O’Connell, and CEO of Reconciliation Australia, Justin Mohamed, today led the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) launch ceremony and celebration of the department achieving ‘stretch’ status for its new plan.

Ms O’Connell, who along with the Secretary is the department’s Indigenous Champion, outlined the department’s stance on reconciliation and emphasised the importance of having a RAP in place.

“This RAP outlines our strong commitment to reconciliation,” Ms O’Connell said.

“It sets goals about the sort of relationships we will build and maintain and ways we’ll recognise the knowledge and contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and their communities make to our organisation – and we can make to theirs.

“As the department’s Indigenous Champion, I am pleased we are committing to specific actions to help us meet targets – it’s an important way we can hold ourselves to account.

“This is the department’s fourth RAP—spanning 11 years—and we’re pushing ourselves further this year as our new RAP meets official ‘stretch’ status from Reconciliation Australia.”

Reconciliation Australia’s CEO, Mr Mohamed, extended congratulations to the department for its renewed and expanded commitment.

“A stretch RAP has specific measurable targets for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment, retention, cultural awareness and procurement and is for organisations ready to challenge themselves,” Mr Mohamed said.

“Reconciliation Australia congratulates the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources on its past successes and ongoing commitment to reconciliation as it implements its fourth Reconciliation Action Plan.”

In addition to the Reconciliation Action Plan, Ms O’Connell spoke of the department’s commitment to the ‘Racism. It stops with me’ campaign and asked staff to pledge support for the campaign.

“The department prides itself on valuing an inclusive and accountable culture where questionable behaviour is called out and not tolerated,” Ms O’Connell said.

“This campaign is an important reminder that we all have a role in making sure the department is the sort of workplace we can all be proud of.”

The Reconciliation Action Plan is available from the department’s website.

At today’s ceremony, the department announced the renaming of its onsite conference centre from the ‘National Conference Centre’ to ‘Songlines Conference Centre’, unveiled its first art from the Torres Strait Islands and showcased a cultural performance from Tahliah King.

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Photo 1: Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Secretary, Daryl Quinlivan, outlining the department’s commitment to meaningful reconciliation at the launch.

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Photo 2: CEO of Reconciliation Australia, Justin Mohamed, discusses the importance of reconciliation.

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Photo 3: Tahliah King performing the national anthem in both her Aboriginal language and English.

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