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Speaking with Deloitte Partner, Head of Innovation, and Deloitte Space Lead, Jason Bender, we asked what this year's Reconciliation Week theme meant to Deloitte. Very simply put, the answer was “doubling down”.

This is part of why, now more than ever, Deloitte chose to take part in Reconciliation SA’s 2024 National Reconciliation Week Breakfast and step into the role of Principal Sponsor.

But doubling down isn’t easy…we at Reconciliation SA understand that, in 2024 we almost doubled the size of the breakfast, to make way for the 1000-strong waitlist from the 2023 breakfast and went after our biggest presenters yet, in Briggs, Dem Mob, Rob Edwards and Of Desert & Sea.

But hearing more about the Deloitte story, it became apparent, that doubling down isn’t a casual choice of words. They’re intent on their commitment to reconciliation, without showcasing tokenism.

This is why Kaurna Country-based Bender, a member of Deloitte’s National RAP working group, was proud to announce that coming to the end of their current stretch RAP, the organisation plans to do another stretch RAP, because they felt they could do more.

“We want to see out our current stretch RAP, but we’re going to embark on another stretch RAP, because we’ve still got more work to do.”

Deloitte, who started their official RAP journey in 2014, with a launch party in Perth on Whadjuk Country, is now seen as an active, and leading RAP member with Reconciliation Australia, which means that 2024 also marks the ten-year anniversary of becoming a RAP organisation.

“We want to be authentic. We spend a lot of time talking about what that means and how we engage as opposed to doing a box-ticking exercise. It’s important that we recognise that.”

About what they do, Bender explains that Deloitte is a leading provider of professional services to clients that span every industry in more than 150 countries. Globally, Deloitte is a team of 400,000 working to solve some of the world’s biggest and most complex challenges.

“Essentially, our people have specialist skills spanning every sector and industry, and we work with our clients to help them deliver better outcomes”.

Deloitte, a firm of innovators, has found that a commitment to reconciliation is in a natural alignment with the company’s values.

“Innovation loves diversity. Diversity of thought, diversity of background, diversity of experience, culture and perspective. It’s important to us for everyone who comes to Deloitte to feel empowered.”

People are also encouraged to be their authentic selves when coming to Deloitte, no matter their background. Those values transcend reconciliation, but regarding it, Deloitte is proud of many of its achievements. Their relationships with First Nations stretch back decades before their formal reconciliation journey.

Deloitte is also committed to giving First Nations ‘Partners’ real self-determination and agency.

During the 2022 Northern River floods, a lot of First Nations communities were affected. Two of Deloitte’s First Nations Partners Rick Shaw (Gamilaroi) and Joe Hedger (Bundjalung) led others to mobilise and help those communities. From just lending a hand, renovation and building scoping to helping with grant applications.

“I'm super proud of that team, and as a business, how we supported them to make a difference. Everyone has regular business commitments but make sure to pitch in where we can when crises, like floods or bushfires, strike.”

Other national reconciliation activities have included collaborations with the Sharing Stories Foundation, helping tell stories through different media. A Welcome to Country film was made for Deloitte’s Naarm/Melbourne Office and several Deloitte staff became support for Aunty Pat Anderson AO.

As part of Deloitte’s Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan, the firm provided Deloitte people, via the online Zoom platform, with the unique opportunity to be transported somewhere most of them had never been by virtually ‘sitting with’ traditional spirit healers, Pitjantjarra Senior Lore women and Nangkarri from the Uluru region of the Northern Territory. There were also in-person opportunities on Gadigal Country/Sydney.

On Kaurna country, Deloitte has been working with Jack Buckskin from Kuma Kaaru on a number of activities, including cleansing the Deloitte offices through ceremony, learning the stories of the Karrawirra Parri/Torrens River where Deloitte’s new offices sit, and has started Kaurna language lessons.

Adelaide Walking Together_Jason Bender and Jack Buckskin

Jason Bender with Jack Buckskin

It also commissioned a lanyard designed by a Kaurna artist, and rather than distributing that lanyard nationwide, all offices connected to the local community plan to get an individual lanyard made that reflects the country each office sits on.

“We could have bought 14,000 lanyards and had them shipped around the country, but we wanted to give other offices the opportunity to develop a local relationship with a First Nations supplier.”

Deloitte took this attitude when considering their Principal Sponsorship. 

“Deloitte is proudly committed to walking and working with First Nations Peoples. We are honoured to sponsor this event and to connect for impact, united, with reconciliation as our collective goal. We continue to affirm the spirit and intent of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Let’s walk forward. Together.”

Deloitte recognises that a RAP is a commitment towards reconciliation. It's the responsibility of the organisation and organisations need to work with their First Nations Partners on the execution.

“Our commitment is to provide opportunities for our people to deepen their understanding of the relevant issues and the context, perspectives, and culture of Australia's First Nations people. We will continue to affirm the spirit and intent of the Uluru Statement from the Heart. We are committed to reconciliation, and we'll continue to stay the course. That's who we are.”

Deloitte hopes that other organisations not sure about how to start their own RAP journey can learn from Deloitte’s approach grounded in curiosity and understanding.


To learn more about Deloitte, visit their website.

Post by Team Writer
Apr 24, 2024 9:45:44 AM