MacKillop Family Services embraces Reconciliation with launch of action plan
To honour the spirit of this year’s National Reconciliation Week theme ‘in this together’ MacKillop Family Services (MacKillop) launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) this week following two years of ‘deep listening’ and consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities they serve.
Working with communities in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia, those involved in establishing the RAP heard the stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, engaging in a process of ‘consultation and truth-telling’ which underpins the practical actions MacKillop is committing to in its RAP.
The RAP will be used to strengthen MacKillop’s capacity to be culturally safe and welcoming to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities and will inform policy and culture in the work MacKillop undertakes.
MacKillop CEO, Dr Robyn Miller, said the RAP launch represents a significant milestone for the provider.
“We still have so much work to do as a nation in order to achieve this goal” Dr Miller said, speaking about the timing of the launch to coincide with National Reconciliation Week.
“Our promise is to work for healing and cultural safety. The impact of colonisation has been abhorrent in Australia and it’s up to all of us to do something about it. Reconciliation begins with each and every one of us” she added.
In creating the RAP, Dr Miller continued, MacKillop has striven to “truly understand the actions we can take that will have a meaningful impact in the communities where we work.”
“We respect the strong advice from Aboriginal Elders that truth-telling must be at the heart of reconciliation and we were humbled by the trust and courage of those who shared their stories. My heartfelt thanks and gratitude goes to all the Aboriginal communities, Elders and leaders who participated in our RAP process” she said.
The creation of the plan has been welcomed by CEO of VACCA, Muriel Bamblett, who welcomed MacKillop’s pledge to work toward reconciliation.
MacKillop’s RAP outlines the actions – based on the feedback from Aboriginal communities and staff – that the organisation will take over the next two years to inform the way it works.
Many of these actions are already underway, including mandatory cultural awareness training for all MacKillop staff and acknowledgement plaques for all MacKillop offices and residential homes.