Ngala recognises and honours Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as Australia’s First Peoples.
We pay tribute to the deep and unique cultural richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the positive and valued contribution they make to the communities in which we all live.
Ngala acknowledges the contact history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and its impact on lands, kin, languages, cultural identity and families.
In 2019 we worked on and developed our Innovate RAP 2019-2021
Reconciliation means building positive, respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians, working together to ‘close the gaps’ and achieve equity and justice.
For Ngala, the spirit and the process of reconciliation is an important part of healing the past and fostering shared understanding. Building and strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and other Australians will increase respect and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and practices, and create opportunities to work in partnership with individuals, families and organisations.
In turn, this supports our vision of creating culturally safe and inclusive environments, services and resources that support families and communities in growing their children in healthy ways. Ngala acknowledges that true reconciliation is a journey that cannot be achieved through a single policy or action. Ngala has a long-term commitment to the development of stronger connections between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations. This includes supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to more actively participate in leadership, decision making and governance structures from program and local levels, as employees and as part of local advisory
groups, right through to Board level.
Making our first RAP
In 2013, Ngala looked critically at its sites and services to see how culturally safe and inclusive they are to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – then began our plan to improve them.
Guided by a local Aboriginal Elder and our Aboriginal staff, Ngala developed our first Reconciliation Action Plan, launched in July 2014.
Our first RAP was all about reflection. We reflected on:
- Staff attitudes towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, and ways of being and doing
- How we could build trust and relationships with more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- How inclusive our policies, procedures and protocols are
- How we recognise significant cultural days and events.
Our first step was looking at our own beliefs and attitudes. The process began with staff. Staff learned about our RAP and their part in it. In the second year, they participated in Kooya cultural training. This soon led to a strong increase in cultural awareness and openness.
We formed a RAP Action Advisory Group, a group of local Elders and community leaders, supported by our Aboriginal staff. The group challenge, guide and influence how Ngala actions its RAP strategies.
Ngala revised and developed important policies and procedures. These included Cultural Respect, Equal Opportunity and Inclusion and Respectful Communication. An Acknowledgement of Country or Welcome to Country now kick off every large gathering.
Ngala came together to celebrate NAIDOC Week and Reconciliation Week as an organisation. In the past, these were championed by our Indigenous Parenting Service team.
Along the way, we recognised that reconciliation takes time. It requires true commitment to change, strong leadership, and most importantly, working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders, leaders, staff, and community members.
We achieved all but two outcomes of our first RAP. These became part of our second RAP.
In 2016, with staff and community support, Ngala launched its second Reconciliation Action Plan. This time, the plan focuses on innovation.
Part of this plan is to focus on innovative ways to recruit and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and to create culturally safe and welcoming environments for families.
To join our RAP Action Advisory Group, support our RAP, or work with us, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.