National Reconciliation Week 2022
We unite for National Reconciliation Week celebrations between 27 May and 3 June. These two dates are important milestones in the journey towards reconciliation.
27th May marks the anniversary of the successful 1967 referendum, where Australians voted overwhelmingly to amend the Constitution to allow the Commonwealth to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and to recognise them in the national census.
3rd June is the anniversary of the High Court Mabo decision in 1992 which rejected terra nullius and recognised First Nations people as traditional custodians of Australia for the first time.
This year’s theme is Be Brave. Make change. Reconciliation Australia is ‘asking everyone to make change beginning with brave actions in their daily lives, where they live, work and socialise.’
Shortly Westpac will launch it’s fifth Reconciliation Action Plan which lays out our vision for reconciliation, focusing on four areas where we believe we can achieve the most significant outcomes. It has been ranked 'Elevate' status by Reconciliation Australia, the highest status to be awarded.
Our RAP focus areas are:
· valuing culture
· better banking experiences
· backing Indigenous enterprise
· meaningful careers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
I recently caught up with a Kirsten Hill a consultant from Westpac’s Yuri Ingkarninthi Team for her thoughts on Reconciliation Week. Kirsten was born and lived for 20 years in the North East Arnhem town of Nhulunbuy, on Yolgnu land in the Northern Territory. At Westpac, she says she has ‘had the privilege of being part of the Indigenous Connection Team and providing assistance, service and education to our Indigenous customers.’
For Kirsten, Reconciliation is ‘about cherishing all people, joining together to rejoice in the richness of our multiculturalism. This home of ours is built of many differences; different cultures, nations and traditions, however reconciliation is all about celebrating those differences and becoming an undivided people, where we all get to enjoy our incredible country. With this year’s theme, Be Brave. Make Change, I hope to carry that theme with my team. We need to be brave and challenge the banking processes that don’t consider the current roadblocks that some of our Indigenous and remote customers face with banking and financial institutions. And through that, we aim to make the changes that respectfully assist our Indigenous and Torres Strait Islanders better, utilising the Davidson Institute training to provide financial literacy classes and education.'
'We hope to mark Reconciliation week with a couple of exciting activities and events, joining in with the Kaurna Cultural Centre and having a stall setup during their event. We are also looking at heading to Colebrook House for an evening of history, truth telling and stories.’
National Reconciliation Week is a time for all Australians to come together to listen and learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements and look at ways all of us can play a part in achieving reconciliation in Australia. What brave change will you make?