AT the start of this year, Brighton Council agreed it should develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and staff began investigating what this process would involve, including undertaking training webinars on what, why and how.
A RAP moves an organisation beyond conducting Acknowledgements of Country and starts the process of integrating other actions and relationships that gets the organisation closer to the vision of reconciliation in Australia. Reconciliation Action Plans help organisations create a workplace culture that understands, values and respects the histories, cultures and contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples make up approximately 9.4 per cent of Brighton’s population in the municipal area compared to 4.6 per cent for Tasmania overall.
An eight-person working group has been formed including two elected members councillors Phil Owen and Tennille Murtagh and Council’s general manager James Dryburgh. The working group will hold regular meetings over coming months.
Discussions have begun with Tasmanian Aboriginal organisations including Kutalayna Health, to begin to understand the needs and general thoughts of the community. So far, the reaction has been very positive.
Council’s initial Action Plan will be a background document to what it commits to do in the future in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members of the community.
“We have discovered that to develop a meaningful action plan for our communities, we may not need to work within the Reconciliation Australia framework and we will continue to consider this approach to developing our Brighton Council action plan as we progress,” James Dryburgh said.
“Brighton Council has always wanted to have a strong focus on education and health outcomes for its community, as well as economic opportunities. According to national research, RAPs have made significant contributions to closing the gap in education, employment and health outcomes,” Mr Dryburgh said.
“In other regions in Australia where organisations have developed and implemented RAPs there have also been well-documented examples of improved economic activity, including increased employment, greater education outcomes, more business activity and growth.”
Council will continue to provide regular updates on how the Action Plan is progressing over coming months and will share the draft plan in 2021.