More than 60 people logged on for the 9 December launch of the Foundation’s second Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), an event that was satisfying in its informality and warmth, as well as deeply respectful of the importance of the occasion.
Wurundjeri Elder Uncle Tony Garvey conducted the Welcome to Country saying, ‘We are part of the land and the land is part of us’.
Event host and Foundation CEO Shane Lucas described the key commitment in our first RAP as ensuring First Nations leadership in all Foundation programs, policies and activities that have an impact on First Nations people and communities.
‘We are part of the land and the land is part of us’.
Uncle Tony Garvey
This second RAP seeks to build on our achievements in collaboration with the First Nations organisations with which we work and guided by the Victorian Government’s Self-Determination Reform framework. The framework supports actions that place culture front and centre; acknowledge and tackle trauma; promote healing; call out and combat racism; and ensure that economic benefits rest in communities.
‘The principle of self-determination – community knows best – is at the heart of the Foundation’s second RAP,’ Shane said. ‘Our RAP gives practical effect to our vision for reconciliation, which is a just and inclusive society that respects and celebrates First Nations cultures and communities and is truthful about our country’s histories.’
‘Our RAP gives practical effect to our vision for reconciliation.’
First Nations people in Victoria are about 10 times more likely to experience severe harm from gambling than the rest of the population, with gambling businesses often clustered in at-risk communities. In addition, the intergenerational effects of colonisation, trauma, dispossession, cultural loss, and separation from family, clan and Country continue to have a significant impact on the health and wellbeing of First Nations communities.
‘We are working together to tackle some of the gambling harm-related issues unique to First Nations communities, as well as collaborating with First Nations leaders to ensure that prevention, early intervention and treatment and support programs are evidence-based, tailored and, most importantly, culturally safe.’
First Nations people are … more likely to experience severe harm from gambling…
The Foundation’s expert RAP adviser, Rod Jackson, a proud Palawa and Cherbourg man, was next to speak. Drawing on his senior roles at Respect Victoria, the National Indigenous Knowledges Education Research Innovation Institute at Deakin University, and as someone actively engaged in justice and equity as a Respected Person on the County and Magistrates Courts, Rod addressed gambling harm within a complex social, cultural and interpersonal web.
As he spoke of homelessness, incarceration, rehabilitation and breaking the cycles of family violence and gambling against ‘the ongoing impacts of colonisation and racism’, it was again apparent that Rod’s ability to provide deep context has been of enormous benefit to the Foundation in the creation of our RAP.
Rod addressed gambling harm within a complex social, cultural and interpersonal web.
The final speaker was Aunty Geraldine Atkinson, a proud Bangerang/Wiradjuri woman, co-chair of the First Peoples’ Assembly of Victoria, and an advocate and change maker. Before giving a presentation on the Treaty process, she highlighted some of the most resonant concepts mentioned by Shane: respect, self-determination, cultural safety and truth telling.
She agreed that each First Nations community is best placed to determine how to meet its own needs based on its own values and context. Community does indeed know best, with a Treaty further ‘strengthening self-determination at a statewide level through collective decision making and the control of our own affairs, including the management of land and waterways and the revival of local languages,’ she said.
Community does indeed know best.
Aunty Geraldine laid out the Treaty process from the establishment of Traditional Owner treaties at the local level through to a statewide Treaty, as well as the composition of the Assembly, which is the voice of First Nations people in Victoria. Each of the 31 members ‘is a proud Traditional Owner appointed by their various communities to build on the hard work of Aboriginal leaders and communities of the past.’
She ended with a call to action.
‘Get involved,’ said Aunty Geraldine, ‘and work with us.’
To learn more, see firstpeoplesvic.org.au or call 1800 TREATY.