Reconciliation remains front and centre on the agenda at Northcott

By Debbie Frail, 24 May 2016 , Comments

National Reconciliation Week is coming up from 27 May-3 June and that’s also when Northcott will take its next steps on the journey to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

On Monday 30 May Northcott’s Chief Executive Officer Kerry Stubbs will launch the organisation’s second Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), also known as a Stretch RAP.

The new Northcott RAP is called a Stretch RAP because it builds on the achievements delivered in Northcott’s first RAP.

It will move us forward as an organisation committed to achieving reconciliation through meaningful and measurable community engagement and employment strategies implemented across all Northcott locations.

The launch of this document is a great achievement that should be acknowledged and celebrated.

We plan to do this during National Reconciliation Week with the launch of the document, our regular luncheon to celebrate the week and the coming together of the Northcott Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network and the RAP Working Group, who will hold a joint meeting to plan for the implementation stage of the new RAP.

In 2014, just a year after the first RAP launched, Northcott partnered with Koolyangarra Aboriginal Family Centre to provide the Aboriginal Speech Therapy Playgroup.

The first-of-its-kind program supported 12 Aboriginal children with speech delays from the local Cranebrook community who were about to enter the schooling system.

Penrith City Council and Nepean Community Neighbourhood Services also partnered with Northcott to make the program happen.

Since Northcott’s first RAP was launched the organisation has built so many fantastic new relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services and organisations like Jarjum College Redfern.

Northcott has also been actively involved in a record number of local community events such as NAIDOC Week celebrations and larger events like the Yabun festival and ACT Now conferences.

Whilst Northcott has achieved a lot as a result of the first RAP, the organisation knows there are challenges that still remain but it’s good to see Northcott is committed to addressing those challenges.

A key target in the new Stretch RAP will be to further increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff working at Northcott in a range of positions.

 

While the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff working at Northcott has increased since the first RAP was launched, the organisation knows it can create more job opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, especially with the opportunities the full roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) presents.

In its Stretch RAP, Northcott has set ambitious targets, including to:

  • Ensure an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person is recruited to the Northcott Board
  • Develop, implement and review a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander procurement strategy
  • Implement cultural education strategies including the completion of cultural awareness elearning as part of induction for all new staff, face-to-face cultural competency training and the chance to participate in a cultural immersion program.

The full Stretch RAP will be released on Monday and I’m looking forward to letting you know about the great achievements that I’m confident will flow as a result of the plan’s release and implementation.

For more information about how disability impacts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia you can visit:

* Debbie Frail is Northcott’s Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Programs Advisor based in the organisation’s head office in Parramatta

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