Our plan to increase Aboriginal employment and cultural awareness
In 2013, Council developed and adopted the first local government Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in the Northern Rivers.
Endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, Council’s RAP was developed through a methodical and inclusive process with Aboriginal stakeholders to establish a series of stepping stones that would lead to increased equality for Aboriginal people.
It included clear targets such as ensuring Council's workforce is 6% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (to reflect the proportion of Lismore’s workforce that is Aboriginal), providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with a voice in decision-making, and increasing cultural awareness among staff.
Our second RAP, launched in 2017, builds on the three foundation principles defined within the first RAP – relationships, respect and opportunities – with key deliverables over the next two years in the three focus areas.
Focus area 1: Community engagement (relationships). Actions include continuing the Aboriginal Advisory Group established from the 2013 RAP, developing a Memorandum of Understanding with Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council, and participating in National Reconciliation Week events.
Focus area 2: Cultural awareness and competency (respect). Actions include implementing a Cultural Competence & Training Strategy for Councillors and staff, hosting NAIDOC Week events, and ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols such as Acknowledgement of Country are practiced.
Focus area 3: Employment and procurement (opportunities). Actions include continuing the Aboriginal Employment Strategy in order to achieve a workforce that is 6% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and work with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to increase the supply of goods and services.
Council has also developed a new program, RAP in the Region, to mentor and encourage other Northern Rivers councils, businesses and organisations to develop their own RAP.