This week is National Reconciliation Week (NRW) and serves as an important reminder that Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people still face extra challenges in life. Many of these are the consequences of a complex combination of social, economic and environmental factors that have been compounded by the ongoing effect of colonialisation and intergenerational trauma.
This NRW year’s theme Don’t Keep History a Mystery encourages all Australians to learn more about Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories, and to share that knowledge to help us grow as a nation.
Our organisation has a strong history of collaborating with the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander communities within our region, working together to identify gaps in services relating to health and taking action to close those gaps. As a result, we have commissioned a range of health services specifically to assist the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people in our region. These include:
We employ an Aboriginal Liaison Officer to provide support and cultural guidance to our organisation and to primary care across our region, assisting to breakdown the barriers Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people face in accessing health services.
Reconciliation is an ongoing journey and we recognise that more work needs to be done. Over the past year, our Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group has been working collaboratively to develop our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), a framework that is provided by Reconciliation Australia to assist organisations develop robust plans to achieve their vision for reconciliation.
Our RAP will be endorsed by Reconciliation Australia and launched in August. It will outline the activities our organisation will undertake, over a two-year period, to improve the health of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people in our community; embed in our everyday business and culture Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people's community needs, interests and priorities; and to help build communities of healthcare practice that support and empower Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people.
I am excited that our organisation is taking this next step in our journey towards Reconciliation and cementing a key component of our strategic plan.