10 May 2023 – Telethon Speech & Hearing has launched its eagerly-anticipated Reconciliation Action Plan, joining a growing number of organisations who are embarking on a journey towards reconciliation between First Nations people and non-First Nations people.
At an launch breakfast ceremony, Rose Walley, a Noongar woman who is also a researcher in otitis media, performed the Welcome to Country. Jody Nunn, CEO of Reconciliation WA, spoke passionately about the Uluru Statement and its importance to our country, with the upcoming Referendum providing an opportunity to finally provide Aboriginal communities with a voice to Parliament.
Both speakers made mention of the importance of building trust and nurturing relationships with Aboriginal communities, so they feel heard and understood.
What exactly is a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and why is it important?
At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between First Nations people and non-First Nations people, for the benefit of all Australians.
For First Nations people, Australia’s colonial history is characterised by devastating land dispossession, violence, and racism. Over the last half-century, however, many significant steps towards reconciliation have been taken.
Based around the core pillars of relationships, respect and opportunities, RAPs provide tangible and substantive benefits for First Nations people, supporting self-determination.
How will TSH’s RAP contribute towards reconciliation?
Since 2011, we have delivered ear health clinics to First Nations families across the Pilbara and have since expanded these across the Kimberley, Peel, Southwest and Wheatbelt regions. In many instances, we have been invited into these communities through the generosity bestowed to us by local Elders, who wholeheartedly trust us with their families’ ear health.
We want to grow our understanding of the communities that we work with, and we believe that a RAP will strengthen our relationship with First Nations communities, enabling us to become a more inclusive organisation.
Through working with various WA communities, we are very conscious of the responsibility we have for celebrating and acknowledging the rich culture and history of the First Nations people. The establishment of TSH’s first RAP will help strengthening our existing relationships, increase our understanding, and build respect for our First Nations families.
Are all organisations submitting their own RAPs?
While not all organisations are obliged to, we are in good company in that, since 2006, over 1,100 organisations across Australia have submitted RAPs, whereby they have committed to sustainably and strategically taking meaningful action to advance reconciliation.
This is our ‘Reflect RAP’ – the first of four parts that make up a comprehensive RAP program. What are the objectives for TSH and how will it lay the foundation for reconciliation initiatives?
The four RAP types – Reflect, Innovate, Stretch and Elevate – allow organisations to continuously develop their reconciliation commitments. Each type of RAP is designed to suit an organisation at different stages of their reconciliation journey.
We are launching the Reflect RAP, which sets out steps to prepare our organisation for reconciliation initiatives in future RAPs. Committing to our Reflect RAP means scoping and developing relationships with First Nations stakeholders, deciding on our vision for reconciliation and exploring our sphere of influence.
We want to ensure that we have a structured and formalised approach to our journey of reconciliation, as we feel it needs to be genuine and leads to the enrichment of our organisation and those families that we support.
How can I, as an employee or client of TSH, contribute towards reconciliation?
Reconciliation is everyone’s business and will not be achieved until First Nations people have equal and equitable access to the same opportunities afforded to non-First Nations people.
To start, we ask that you carefully read through TSH’s Respect RAP, paying particular attention to our Actions and Deliverables within the workplace.
Other suggestions include:
- Participate in Cultural Awareness Training
- Always use inclusive and culturally appropriate language, not just in the workplace
- Utilise culturally appropriate resources
Together, we can make a difference to effect lasting change and awareness towards true reconciliation.
TSH would like to recognise Daniel Lombardo for leading the organisation’s reconciliation journey.