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In this together

MacKillop Family Services (MacKillop) is celebrating National Reconciliation Week 2020 (27 May – 3 June) by unveiling its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Over the past two years, MacKillop has been on a journey of deep listening and consultation, hearing the stories of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities it works with in New South Wales, Victoria and Western Australia. This process of consultation and truth-telling underpins the practical actions MacKillop is committing to in its Innovate RAP.

Informing policy and culture, the RAP will strengthen MacKillop’s capacity to be culturally safe and welcoming to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities.

Dr Robyn Miller, MacKillop’s CEO, says the launch of the RAP is a significant milestone for MacKillop in its commitment to reconciliation.

“It is fitting that we are launching our RAP during National Reconciliation Week, which appropriately has the theme In this together, for only through collaboration will we achieve true reconciliation. We still have so much work to do as a nation in order to achieve this goal.

“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.”

Dr Miller added, “We have engaged staff and community to listen, and 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.”

Muriel Bamblett, CEO of VACCA, welcomes MacKillop’s pledge to work towards reconciliation.

“Mackillop is making a real commitment to reconciliation with its Innovate RAP. Two years of consulting with communities and listening to their stories underlines how MacKillop understands the need for collaboration so we can work together to achieve the best outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families and communities.

This RAP is just a beginning, MacKillop must keep listening and working in tandem with aboriginal partnerships to develop meaningful relationships to move towards reconciliation,” Muriel added.

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.

The RAP is available on MacKillop’s website at www.mackillop.org.au/rap. Members of the community are encouraged to give their feedback on MacKillop’s RAP and can do so online. Visit www.mackillop.org.au/rap for more information.