Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples experience vast differences in life expectancy, health, education, employment, and standards of living compared to their non-Indigenous counterparts.
The diversity of First Peoples of the Tablelands Regional lands provides a home rich in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage and culture. It is important we continue to celebrate the uniqueness of our communities, while understanding the historical and ongoing impact of our colonial past.
We started out on this journey of understanding in December 2016 by establishing a working group to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). The RAP is based on Reconciliation Australia’s framework and is not a legislative requirement but a practical plan of action to build relationships, respect and opportunities.
Our Reflect RAP was endorsed by Council and Reconciliation Australia in May 2018 and implemented over the following 12 months. Some of the outcomes include:
- increased connection with First Nations peoples and organisations
- cultural capability training delivered to our Executive Leadership and Leadership teams
- change to our standing orders to include acknowledgement of country prior to each Council meeting
- welcome to country / acknowledgement of country delivered to all civic events
- inclusion of acknowledgement of country in our email signature
- installation of flag poles at our Atherton office to fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags
- acknowledgement of country and national apology displayed in our Atherton Customer Service Centre
- acknowledgement of country displayed in customer service centres, visitor information centres and libraries
- establishment of relationships with local and regional arts and cultural communities to deliver culturally specific programs in the region.
We continued on the journey of Reconciliation Australia’s framework and developed an Innovate RAP. Endorsed by Council in June 2020 and Reconciliation Australia in August 2020, the Innovate RAP provides us with a clear direction to continue to advance reconciliation in the region.
We acknowledge the RAP Working Group (now Reconciliation Action Advisory Committee) and are grateful for the essential participation and guidance of our Traditional Custodians who represent our region’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.
We say sorry — National Apology Speech
On 13 February 2008, then-Prime Minister Kevin Rudd formally acknowledged the suffering caused by decades of mistreatment of Indigenous Australians. The apology took place at 9am as the first action of the first full sitting day of the 42nd Parliament of Australia. Across the country, crowds gathered in schools, community halls and on parliament lawns to witness the historic event.