National Reconciliation Week marks a time for reflection
National Reconciliation Week has commenced, marking a week of celebration and reflection in acknowledgement of the Traditional Owners of the land, past, present and future.
Running from 27 May–3 June, it marks a time to recognise the long and diverse history of First Nations peoples in Australia, and work to build trust and respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
Reconciliation Australia is the nation’s peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander reconciliation efforts and turns 20 this year. The organisation was borne from progenitor the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (CAR), which existed from 1991 to 2000. RAPs are voluntarily entered into by stakeholders, including several major Australian oil and gas producers, providing businesses and institutions with a way to provide a more nuanced framework for Indigenous relations that extends beyond basic government requirements.
The natural gas industry works closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Many gas companies incorporate Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP), organised by peak body Reconciliation Australia, as an expression of their commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The theme of this year’s Reconciliation Week is ‘More than a word. Reconciliation takes action’ and many gas producers across the country are doing just that. Santos has worked with Indigenous rangers on the West Arnhem Land Fire Abatement (WALFA) project and sponsors the Aboriginal Power Cup, while Shell implemented the Western Downs Indigenous Careers Program.
Woodside meanwhile has collaborated with Greening Australia and Noongar rangers on mass tree plantings, and Chevron has established the Aboriginal School Scholarship Program (ASSP) to provide Indigenous secondary students with tuition support and resources.
Buru Energy has partnered with the Kimberley Training Institute in Western Australia since 2013 on an environmental cadetship program for Noonkanbah and Yawuru communities. And INPEX sponsors the Broome Girls Academy, providing support for around 120 female Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in association with several groups including Role Models, Leaders Australia, and the Department of Employment and Work Relations (DEEWR), among others.
This is just a small slice of the programs being undertaken by natural gas companies, but there is always an opportunity to strengthen bonds, build relationships, and continue to learn from the past, which is why events like National Reconciliation Week are so important.
For more information about National Reconciliation Week, visit reconciliation.org.au.Explore
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