In September, UnitingCare West released their innovative Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The RAP recognises the “special and unique spiritual connection to lands, waters and country” of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. UnitingCare West also acknowledges that policies and exclusionary experiences of the past have had negative impacts on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This plan is a tool for addressing areas to improve and invest in, in order for UnitingCare West to deliver services in a culturally appropriate way and to ensure that it is a place where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel welcome as clients, volunteers and staff.
The current RAP Working Group will continue meeting until the end of 2018. The goal actions in the RAP are diverse,serving different, specific purposes from developing mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to investigating opportunities to improve and increase their employment outcomes within the UnitingCare West workplace.
Sue Ash, CEO of UnitingCare West, said “UnitingCare West is excited to action our commitment to reconciliation through the launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan. This is an important milestone in the life of the organisation and reflects our desire to find exciting and innovative ways to strengthen our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
“It also reflects our pride in belonging to the covenants of the Uniting Church which oppose all forms of discrimination and encourage us to build respectful relationships with Aboriginal people.”
Uniting Church in Australia’s Covenant with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress represents the church’s commitment to reconciliation, and this RAP also demonstrates UnitingCare West’s commitment.
Rev Sealin Garlett, chairperson of the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress WA Regional Committee, said “It is a positive step and it is keeping in line with the journey of the church and the covenant that the Uniting Church is committed to.”