Reconciliation SA recently attended the 2022 National RAP Conference “Brave Together” in Sydney, where more than 600 delegates attended. Every year Reconciliation Australia brings together people from RAP organisations large and small at the National Reconciliation Action Plan – RAP – Conference, to collaborate, learn and act on reconciliation.
The 2022 National RAP Conference Brave Together drew on the National Reconciliation Week 2022 theme Be Brave. Make Change. The theme challenged us all to continue the unfinished work of reconciliation and the two-day program was a unique opportunity for RAP organisation members, policymakers, academics, and community members to connect and be challenged to be brave in their commitments to reconciliation.
The program included a vast array of speakers across plenary's and panels that explored what a reconciled Australia could look like and what is required to bring about change. It also touched on transforming our workplaces and futures, including hearing the experiences of Elevate RAP Organisations.
The Uluru Statement from the Heart was front and centre of discussion as Federal Government to implementing the call for a voice to parliament.
Keynote Speaker Professor Peter Yu AM (Vice President First Nations, Australian National University) addressed what is required to bring about a reconciled Australia in his speech “Australia Reconciled – The Day After – Imagining the Birth of a New Decolonised Australian Nation”. Professor Yu talked about the importance of getting the questions right and the practical requirements to implement the constitutional changes. He talked about the importance of National and State governments investing in comprehensive engagement processes about what it means and establishing structures of engagement and processes for healing and reconciliation (underpinned by truth telling) and how a place at the table enables First Nations people to be a part of the solutions to improve health and wellbeing outcomes.
A panel discussion on ‘Tackling the Unfinished Business of Reconciliation” highlighted the importance of personal responsibility as well as organisational responsibility. Dixie Crawford (Founder, Nganya) challenged the audience to think about what the impact is if you don’t make change, “its not you, its Aboriginal people that suffer”. The panel encouraged people to educate themselves and others, have those brave discussions and be humble and reflective to build greater understanding.
Breakout sessions were varied and further explored a strength based approach, and how engaging with First Nations people is having a positive measured impact on organisations and communities. Examples of engaging with First Nations knowledge and people included workplace productivity and culture, sport, land management and the built environment.
This was echoed in the “Transforming our workplaces” plenary with Professor Deen Sanders OAM (Lead Partner, Deloitte) and Siobhan Toohill (Chief Sustaliability Officer, Westpac) who spoke to how shareholder conversations are changing and how we need to model voice, treaty and truth in our own organisations. “We don’t have the answers, because we don’t know the questions…..its not procedural, its about making brave decisions”.
To make the event even more special from a Reconciliation SA perspective, CEO Shona Reid was twice at the event. Firstly, Shona was able to present at the Allies and Activists: breakout session.
Shona was also able to co-facilitate the plannery session with Mr. Peter Morris, General Manager of RAP Program at Reconciliation Australia.