Impact Publications : MICEBTN-68
Page 42 • MICEBTN - SEPT-NOV 2017 Is your company making the most of its indigenous reconciliation openings? ARE you ticking the required boxes on your corporate social responsibility checklist, rather than taking real action towards reconciliation? Today, employ- ees of all age groups are looking for bosses who really care about the community beyond what they must do and beyond ticking the boxes they must tick. Today, more than 70 per cent of Australian conferences start with a ‘Welcome to Country’ (presented by an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander) or an ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ (presented by a person not from Australia). Recently, I had the pleasure of hearing Alex Shain from Reconcili- ation Australia (www.reconciliation. org.au) present in Darwin at a Cul- tural and Heritage event hosted by Kentish Lifelong Learning & Care. In his ‘at times confronting’ pres- entation, he described how Aborig- inal community organisations often receive a phone call out of the blue from a company requesting a person to deliver a ‘Welcome to Country’ at a conference. Typically, though, after the conference, there is no further communication. The company has ‘ticked the box’ and that’s the end of the relation- ship. A more meaningful interaction could start with a call to the Aborig- inal or Torres Strait Islander com- munity long before the conference. It might involve the Elders not only performing the Welcome to Coun- try, but also to be part of the event. This could include their inclusion in a panel discussion, running a cultural and heritage workshop or break out session and/or being recognised for their wisdom and knowledge as part of the confer- ence program. (On the other hand, given the costs and other pressures on con- ference organisers, this approach also could lead to fewer invites overall – ed.) Maybe more organisations will take the lead from the currently 900 organisations including Fox- tel, Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, Accor Hotels, Crown Resorts, Dreamworld and Qantas, to name a few, who have taken the step of creating a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). A RAP provides a framework for organisations to realise their vision for reconciliation and is a practical plan of action built on relationships, respect and op- portunities. RAPs also create social change and economic opportuni- ties for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. RAPs can turn goodwill into action. (Some say that) until we achieve reconciliation, we fall short of achieving our potential as an organisation. That we need or- ganisations to go beyond ticking the corporate social responsibility checklist. Alex Shain discussed the five dimensions of reconciliation: 1. Race relations. 2. Equality and equity. 3. Historical acceptance. 4. Unity. 5. Institutional integrity. Tips to consider to go beyond ticking boxes • Build strong foundations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island- er people in your local communi- ties. • Respect the culture. • Engage Aboriginal and Tor- res Strait Islander cultural and heritage consultants to train and educate your staff. Companies should work to build stronger foundations with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people...