Brighton Council embraces reconciliation

Brighton Council has been progressing a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) under the Reconciliation Australia framework. A RAP is a structured approach to advancing reconciliation in Australia by making a public commitment as an organisation to reconciliation. There are three core pillars – Relationships, Respect and Opportunities.

Cultural Awareness Training days conducted at the piyura kitina/Risdon Cove by Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre

We’re developing a Reflect RAP, which provides us with a roadmap to beginning a reconciliation journey. We formally endorsed progressing a RAP in 2020 and as an organisation firmly believe it is absolutely the right thing to do.

A RAP working group of volunteers from within the council was established, with approximately 12 members. James Dryburgh as General Manager is our RAP champion and a number of elected members have also volunteered to join the working group.

Since the establishment of the working group, we have commenced informal community engagement and undertaken cultural awareness training.

Brighton Council became a member of Reconciliation Tasmania’s Reconciliation Collective. The Collective acts as a collegial network of community and business partners, working together and supporting each other’s reconciliation journey. Through the Reconciliation Collective, organisations who have committed to Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) can be assisted to connect with the Aboriginal community members in their region in the process of implementing RAP commitments, to advance initiatives for all.

Through the Reconciliation Collective, Council attends workshops and forums that assist with understanding our commitment journey and both staff and councillors participate in National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC events.

Early on, we implemented some very simple but meaningful steps that included flying the Australian Aboriginal flag at the Council Offices, including an acknowledgement of country in our official documents and email signature, and conducting a Welcome to Country at official Council events where appropriate.

We are fortunate to have a Council representative as part of the local Kutalayna Collective. This community group, made up of many different stakeholders, works in the Jordan River area with the aim of making sure Aboriginal children living in the area get the very best start to life and broad opportunities along the way. It’s also there to continually build on the strengths within kutalayna/Jordan River to create and maintain a strong, resilient and thriving community.

As we continue our RAP journey, we’ll commence more formal community engagement in the coming months to ensure the most relevant outcomes from our action plan. Brighton Council wishes to ensure we offer a culturally safe workplace and thriving community for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.