Upping the ante on reconciliation

The City of Melbourne (CoM) has moved closer to its goal of becoming a city with an Aboriginal focus, following two new initiatives.

Its June 5 Future Melbourne Committee endorsed its fifth Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) as well as an Aboriginal Melbourne Action Plan (AMAP).

In 2006, the council became the first council to produce a RAP and its most recent iteration ­– City of Melbourne Reconciliation Action Plan 2018–20 – was presented and endorsed by councillors.

The authors of the plan point out that it is an “organisational” plan.  “This recognises the need to build City of Melbourne’s internal cultural capability and create sustainable organisational change in order to reach our reconciliation aspirations,” they say.

Key focus areas and targets include:

Aboriginal employment: Increase Aboriginal employment to 2.5 per cent;

Aboriginal procurement: 1 per cent of CoM annual procurement to be spent with Aboriginal businesses;

Attitudes and behaviours towards reconciliation: 100 per cent of employees to attend cultural training and 90 per cent participate in at least one Aboriginal event;

Participation and partnerships: Six council-endorsed advisory committees to have Aboriginal representation and four partnerships between the council and Aboriginal-controlled organisations to be established; and

Inclusive service delivery for Aboriginal people: 23 of City of Melbourne’s child and family services, libraries and community Hubs to be “inclusive and culturally safe”.

The Aboriginal Melbourne Action Plan proposes 21 actions which:

“Acknowledge Melbourne’s Aboriginal history, heritage and identity in ways such as supporting National Reconciliation Week activities and via information at visitor centres;

Foster understanding about Melbourne’s Aboriginal heritage and culture through projects such as the Aboriginal Melbourne digital mapping project and establishment of a bush-food and fibre garden; and

Facilitate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ contribution to the city’s cultural, social and economic life by ensuring that Aboriginal representation is provided in all aspects of council business and creating culturally safe spaces for Aboriginal people.”

Among other commitments, the City of Melbourne will work the Aboriginal people for a “treaty or other instrument of reconciliation”.

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