The Queensland Family and Child Commission’s commitment to embedding workplace practices that improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people has been highlighted during the launch of the 2015 National Reconciliation Week.
Attendance at the 27 May launch enabled the QFCC’s Interim Principal Commissioner Steve Armitage to see firsthand the success of initiatives such as a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which the QFCC is currently developing.
Federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion, Queensland Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Curtis Pitt, and Reconciliation Australia CEO Justin Mohamed were also in attendance at Dreamworld. The Gold Coast tourist attraction was chosen to host the event as the first theme park in the country to establish a RAP which created 17 Indigenous jobs.
During the launch, Minister Pitt announced that the 2018 Commonwealth Games would include a RAP to support the inclusion of Indigenous culture throughout the games. The RAP linked to the major event will be the first of its kind and will cover all four Commonwealth Games sites - the Gold Coast, Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns.
"National Reconciliation Week is an important time for all Queenslanders to come together to reflect, commemorate and celebrate the state's Indigenous culture and heritage," Minister Pitt said.Mr Armitage said the QFCC RAP will document the agency’s commitment to reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“Our RAP will have strategies that engage and build stronger partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations. We will require our own staff to demonstrate cultural respect through modelling culturally competent behaviour in all we do,” Mr Armitage said.
In a video message played to guests, Prime Minister Tony Abbott encouraged all Australians to take part in National Reconciliation Week.
"There has been much progress since the 1967 referendum but almost 50 years later so much more is needed," he said.
"We will never be all that we should be as a nation until we do better at this."
The launch began with a local Indigenous choir who sang the national anthem in both the traditional Yugambeh language and English.
This year's national theme “It's time to change it up” calls on everyone to take a fresh approach, take action and spark a change in schools, workplaces and in the broader community.
Mr Mohamed said the week aimed to drive social change and improve economic opportunities for Indigenous Australians.
He pointed to a new report that estimated the RAP program had helped more than 600 organisations employ almost 30,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.