Emergency notice

Reconciliation Action Plan

Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) demonstrates the department's commitment to an inclusive workplace and to celebrating the rich, diverse and resilient cultures of our country.

Acknowledgement

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the lands where we work and the places in which we live.

We celebrate the First Peoples’ unique cultural and spiritual relationship to Country, and their rich contribution to Australia.

We pay respect to Ancestors and Elders past, present and future.

The department recognises that by acknowledging our past, we are laying the groundwork for a future that embraces all Australians; a future based on mutual respect and shared responsibility.

Secretary’s message

This Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) demonstrates the department’s commitment to an inclusive workplace and to celebrating the rich, diverse and resilient cultures of our country.

We have adopted the Reflect model from Reconciliation Australia. Our first RAP will lay the foundations in our department for reconciliation initiatives in successive plans, and describes the structures we will put in place to strengthen our relationships with Aboriginal stakeholders, raise awareness and build a strong commitment to reconciliation across the corporate areas of the department.

I also recognise the longstanding association that the department holds with the NSW Aboriginal Education and Consultative Group Inc. (AECG) through its partnership agreement Together We Are; Together We Can; Together We Will. I value the vision and commitment that jointly binds us and the strength of the NSW AECG through its community base.

I congratulate the members of the RAP Working Group for their work so far and for championing reconciliation. I urge all staff to learn more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, share your ideas and get involved in building reconciliation.

We are delighted to be working with Reconciliation Australia and other organisations that are part of the RAP community.

I look forward to seeing how our organisation embraces our inaugural RAP and, in time, how it benefits our school communities.

Mark Scott AO

Secretary

NSW Department of Education

Message from Reconciliation Australia

Reconciliation Australia is delighted to welcome the NSW Department of Education to the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program and to formally endorse its inaugural Reflect RAP.

As a member of the RAP community, the NSW Department of Education joins over 1,000 dedicated corporate, government, and not-for-profit organisations that have formally committed to reconciliation through the RAP program since its inception in 2006. RAP organisations across Australia are turning good intentions into positive actions, helping to build higher trust, lower prejudice, and increase pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Reconciliation is no one single issue or agenda. Based on international research and benchmarking, Reconciliation Australia defines and measures reconciliation through five critical dimensions: race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity; unity; and historical acceptance. All sections of the community — governments, civil society, the private sector, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities — have a role to play to progress these dimensions.

The RAP program provides a framework for organisations to advance reconciliation within their spheres of influence. This Reflect RAP provides the NSW Department of Education a roadmap to begin its reconciliation journey. Through implementing a Reflect RAP, the NSW Department of Education will lay the foundations for future RAPs and reconciliation initiatives.

We wish the NSW Department of Education well as it takes these first critical steps in its reconciliation journey. We encourage the organisation to embrace this journey with open hearts and minds, to grow from the challenges, and to build on the successes. As the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation reminded the nation in its final report:
‘Reconciliation is hard work — it’s a long, winding and corrugated road, not a broad, paved highway. Determination and effort at all levels of government and in all sections of the community will be essential to make reconciliation a reality.’

On behalf of Reconciliation Australia, I commend the NSW Department of Education on its first RAP, and look forward to following its ongoing reconciliation journey.

Karen Mundine

Chief Executive Officer

Reconciliation Australia

Our Reconciliation Action Plan artwork

Aboriginal artwork with circles at the centre surrounded by people holding hands and footprints throughout
Our Reconciliation Action Plan artwork represents community, school, friendship and family.

About the artist

The artwork featured throughout our Reconciliation Action Plan represents the themes of community, school, friendship and family.

Suzanna, a student from Boggabilla Central School, created the artwork. The school sits on Gamilaraay Country, near the Queensland border in the North East of NSW. It is a small yet active school for the community of Boggabilla.

Our business

Children and young people are at the centre of all our decision-making. We ensure young children get the best start in life by supporting and regulating the early childhood education sector. We are the largest provider of public education in Australia with responsibility for delivering high-quality public education to two-thirds of the NSW student population. We also work closely with the non-government school and higher education sectors. We respect and value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as First Peoples of Australia.

We aim to ensure that Education is a great place to work and our workforce is of the highest calibre.

We currently employ approximately 90,000 teachers and staff, with almost four per cent of our staff self-identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. We value the unique skills, experience and knowledge our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff bring to our department and our schools. We deliver a world-class education to more than 791,000 students each year through our public schools and provide funding support to more than 417,000 students in non-government schools.

The department’s reach extends across NSW with offices in metropolitan, regional and remote areas.

The department includes Aboriginal Affairs NSW, which leads reform across a range of complex policy areas to improve opportunities and outcomes for Aboriginal peoples and communities throughout NSW. Aboriginal Affairs NSW supports Aboriginal communities’ capacity for self-determination; aims to strengthen cultural identity and engender healing; fosters economic prosperity; and promotes the priorities and aspirations of Aboriginal communities across government.

OCHRE (Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment) is the NSW Government’s plan for Aboriginal affairs. Aboriginal Affairs NSW has a lead role in coordinating and evaluating the implementation of initiatives under OCHRE, and works in close partnership with the department to deliver on key initiatives such as Local Decision Making and the Aboriginal Language and Culture Nests, all of which provide opportunities for the department to work with the Aboriginal communities of NSW.

Our vision

An inclusive workplace built on mutual respect, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and cultures are recognised, valued and celebrated.

We recognise and respect the ongoing contributions made by Aboriginal peoples as the Traditional Custodians of our Country. Walking together, we are building an education system that celebrates diversity and creates a brighter future for all children and young people in our care. We acknowledge the importance of collaboration and partnership. Our aim is to build partnerships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians that are based on trust and respect, and free of racism. We commit to working with and for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, staff and communities.

Our vision describes what we want the department to be, and this Reconciliation Action Plan details the real actions we will take to realise this vision on our journey towards reconciliation. It has been developed to support and promote our values of excellence, equity, accountability, trust, integrity and service.

We acknowledge that reconciliation is everyone’s business.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan

Reconciliation Australia’s framework sets out a structured approach to advancing
reconciliation. There are four different types of Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP):

  • Reflect
  • Innovate
  • Stretch
  • Elevate

Each one is designed to suit an organisation at different stages of their reconciliation journey.

Our Reflect RAP aims to lay the groundwork for future reconciliation activities and prepare for future RAPs that are meaningful, beneficial and sustainable. The first step is to make our organisation a culturally safe place to work and to advance reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.

In February 2018, Secretary Mark Scott formed a working group to support the development of a Reflect RAP for corporate staff in the department. The group includes Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal employees from all areas
within the department with a passion to make a difference.

Our reconciliation journey was announced during National Reconciliation Week in 2018, where the Secretary stated our intention to develop a RAP. The working group then started raising awareness and co-designing our vision statement with all corporate staff. An online survey asked corporate staff what reconciliation meant to them, and to provide keywords and ideas for our vision statement.

A two-way broadcast with the Secretary and Head of Aboriginal Affairs focused on what reconciliation meant to them, the importance of sharing the journey and invited staff to engage in the process. The working group organised a series of consultation forums and an online survey to seek feedback from staff. More than 150 staff joined the conversation in Dubbo, Wollongong, Newcastle, Sydney, and feedback from the survey was strongly supportive. Participants were enthusiastic about the development of a RAP and their valuable feedback was incorporated into the plan.

The RAP is championed by our Secretary and the Executive is responsible for its delivery. The working group will oversee the implementation plan and report progress to the Executive and staff. The deliverables and initiatives are aligned with the principles outlined by Reconciliation Australia: Relationships, Respect and Opportunities. The RAP supports our commitment to our partnership agreement with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Inc. (NSW AECG) Together We Are; Together We Can; Together We Will.

Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education

While this Reflect RAP is targeted towards corporate staff, the department encourages reconciliation in schools and early learning centres through Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali program. This program supports the developing environments that foster a higher level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions. At the time of publication, there are 135 government schools in NSW that are in the process of developing a RAP and four that have a published plan.

Aboriginal education and training is core business for all staff in NSW public schools. Schools are committed to improving outcomes for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and advancing reconciliation with their local communities. For further information, visit the department’s Aboriginal education and communities section.

Our partnerships and current activities

The department is committed to strengthening relationships with Aboriginal communities and organisations.

Together We Are; Together We Can; Together We Will – Our partnership agreement with the NSW AECG

The Partnership Agreement is a statement of intent of how the NSW AECG and the department work together. The strength of the NSW AECG is its community base through its network of over 140 local and regional AECGs. This allows Aboriginal people to have a voice in self-determining their educational future, which will impact on the future prosperity of Aboriginal communities.

Our partnership with the NSW AECG allows policies and programs to be developed that meet the needs of Aboriginal people and their communities.

The working together of Aboriginal communities and the department is strengthened under this Partnership Agreement to achieve common goals set in consultation and negotiation with Aboriginal communities.

We have outlined our current initiatives below.

Celebration of key dates

NAIDOC Week and National Reconciliation Week are celebrated annually. These celebrations present opportunities to engage with all corporate staff to raise cultural awareness and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures.

Diversity and Inclusion Strategy 2018-2022

The department’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy describes the actions it will take to build an inclusive workforce through:

  • increasing employee awareness, understanding and engagement
  • attracting, recruiting, developing and retaining a workforce which reflects the community we serve
  • strengthening workforce data and evidence to inform sustainable decisions and initiatives.

Increasing the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees

The department is committed to meeting the existing Premier’s Priority to double the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in leadership roles in the government sector by 2025, along with our goal to continue to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff across all positions within our organisation. Improving on employee representation and diversity enables us to further engage with our staff, stakeholders, students and communities.

Aboriginal Education Policy

Aboriginal education and training is core business for all staff. The department’s Aboriginal Education Policy defines our commitment to improving the educational outcomes and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, providing Aboriginal cultural education for all staff, and collaborative decision-making.

Anti-Racism Policy

The department rejects all forms of racism. The department’s Anti-Racism Policy commits the department to the elimination of racial discrimination in its corporate offices and schools.

Aboriginal Procurement Policy

The department’s Aboriginal Procurement Policy aims to award at least three per cent of the total number of domestic contracts to Aboriginal-owned businesses by 2021. The department is committed to increasing employment opportunities for Aboriginal peoples and the participation and growth of Aboriginal-owned businesses through procurement activities.

Our RAP hub

Our RAP hub provides an opportunity to increase the visibility of reconciliation within the department, embed reconciliation, cultural protocols and cultural safety as part of ‘business as usual’ and align this with our strategic goals.

The RAP hub contains a wealth of information and knowledge about Aboriginal protocols, procurement, FAQs, Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali program, initiatives and events happening in the department and more. This platform enables access to resources for all staff, to increase cultural awareness and mutual respect.

Relationships

1. Maintain and review the RAP Working Group (RAPWG)

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

Meet monthly to manage and monitor the activities and deliverables detailed in the Reflect   RAP and report on its implementation.

January 2019 – January 2020

Chair, RAPWG

Continue to engage corporate staff with the Reflect RAP via events, forums, the RAP mailbox, RAP Hub (a dedicated portal on the intranet) and through members of the Working Group.

January 2019 – January 2020

Chair, RAPWG

Maintain a diverse RAP Working Group comprising of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff, decision- makers and new starters from across our department.

January 2019 – January 2020

Chair, RAPWG

2. Build internal and external relationships

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

Maintain and strengthen our partnership with the AECG through regular consultation.

January 2019 – January 2020

Executive Leadership Group

Organise a RAP External Stakeholder Advisory Committee to support the implementation of the Reflect RAP.

July 2019

Chair, RAPWG

Organise an internal committee of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to provide advice and support on the RAP.

July 2019

Chair, RAPWG

Develop a list of Aboriginal peoples, communities and organisations to share our reconciliation journey.

March 2019

Chair, RAPWG

Develop a list of other like-minded organisations that we could connect with on our reconciliation journey.

March 2019

Chair, RAPWG

3. Participate in and celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW)

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

Organise NRW events in corporate offices.

May – June 2019

Chair, RAPWG supported by corporate offices

Support corporate staff to participate in NRW events.

May – June 2019

Executive Leadership Group

Support corporate staff to visit Reconciliation Australia’s website for resources and information on NRW events to attend.

May – June 2019

Director, Strategic Communications

Ensure our RAP Working Group participates in an external event to recognise and celebrate NRW.

May – June 2019

Chair, RAPWG

4. Raise internal awareness of our RAP

DeliverableTimelineResponsibility

All senior managers will take responsibility for raising internal awareness of the RAP and for communicating the RAP’s role in our core business.

December 2019

Executive Leadership Group

Implement a communication plan to raise awareness amongst all staff and stakeholders about our RAP commitments.

January 2019

Director, Strategic Communications

Develop an intranet site/RAP Hub to include the plan, links to information about procurement from Aboriginal-owned businesses, the importance of Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country and FAQs.

January 2019

Director, Strategic Communications

Provide regular updates of RAP implementation activities through the RAP Hub and Working Group members.

January 2019 – January 2020

Director, Strategic Communications

Develop and implement a plan to engage and inform key internal stakeholders of their responsibilities within our RAP.

December 2019

Chair, RAPWG

Respect

5. Investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural learning and development

DeliverableTimelineResponsibility

Conduct a review of cultural awareness training needs within our department.

July 2019

Executive Director, Human Resources

Develop and implement a strategy for increasing awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements within our department.

December 2019

Chair, RAPWG

Encourage staff to use Reconciliation Australia’s Share Our Pride online tool.

January 2019

Director, Strategic Communications

Identify a mechanism to measure our staff’s current level of knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements.

December 2019

Chair, RAPWG

Design and implement a leadership development program for corporate staff

December 2020

Executive Director, Human Resources

6. Participate in and celebrate NAIDOC Week event and other events

DeliverableTimelineResponsibility

Raise awareness and share information among our staff of the meaning of NAIDOC Week, including appropriate information about local Aboriginal peoples and communities.

July 2019

Executive Leadership Group

Promote NAIDOC Week and other events, festivals and days of recognition (eg Yabun Festival, the NSW Aboriginal Rugby League Knockout, the anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generations) and encourage staff to participate.

July 2019

Executive Leadership Group;

Executive Director, Human Resources

Ensure NAIDOC Week and other events are organised by staff across the department in corporate offices.

July 2019

Chair, RAPWG supported by corporate offices

Ensure our RAPWG participates in an external NAIDOC Week and other events.

July 2019

Chair, RAPWG

7. Raise internal understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

Update and circulate information about Traditional Custodians across NSW.

March 2019

Director, Strategic Communications

Raise awareness and understanding of the meaning and significance behind Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country protocols (including any local cultural protocols).

March 2019

Chair, RAPWG and Executive Director, Human Resources

Set up visual cues for Acknowledgment of Country in corporate offices.

March 2019

Chair, RAPWG supported by corporate offices

Opportunities

8. Investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

Continue to meet and exceed the Premier’s Priority target for doubling Aboriginal peoples in leadership roles by 2025.

December 2019

Executive Director, Human Resources

Continue to increase the number of Aboriginal peoples across all positions within our department.

December 2019

Executive Director, Human Resources

Build understanding of current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to inform future employment and development opportunities.

December 2019

Executive Director, Human Resources

Establish a central Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander network that links into current regional networks to provide inputs to initiatives and information related to Aboriginal employees.

December 2019

Executive Director, Human Resources

Develop and implement an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment, retention and professional development strategy.

December 2019

Executive Director, Human Resources

Review human resource, recruitment and contingent workforce procedures and policies to remove barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in our workplace.

December 2019

Executive Director, Human Resources

Participate and build on the NSW Public Service Commission (PSC) NSW Aboriginal Employment and Development Program to support career development opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees at all levels within the department.

December 2019

Executive Director, Human Resources

Continue to support the PSC Aboriginal Career and Leadership Development Program.

January 2019 – December 2021

Executive Director, Human Resources

Evaluate and review the Aboriginal scholarships program to ensure it is meeting expectations and needs.

December 2020

Executive Director, Human Resources

Extend and develop schools, Registered Training Organisations, universities and employment service providers to attract and promote the department as an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

December 2021

Executive Director, Human Resources

9. Investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

Develop an Aboriginal Participation Strategy to support the implementation of the Aboriginal Procurement Policy to increase employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the participation and growth of Aboriginal-owned businesses through our procurement activities.

February 2019

Chief Procurement Officer

Raise awareness and understanding of the Aboriginal Participation Strategy and Aboriginal Procurement Policy across the department.

April 2019

Chief Procurement Officer

Review and update procurement policies and procedures to help address barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers participating in procurement processes.

December 2019

Chief Procurement Officer

Apply practical measures to give first consideration to Aboriginal-owned businesses when approaching the market for the procurement of goods and services up to a value of $250,000.

December 2019

Chief Procurement Officer

10. Promote Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education to staff and external stakeholders

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

Continue to host and promote appropriate links to Reconciliation Australia’s   Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Education platform on our RAP Hub and through the department.

January 2019

Director, Strategic Communications

Governance and tracking progress

11. Build support for the RAP

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

Secure resources for RAP development and implementation.

December 2019

Chair, RAPWG

Define systems and capability needs to track, measure and report on RAP activities.

March 2019

Chair, RAPWG

Complete the annual RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire and submit to Reconciliation Australia.

September 2019

Chair, RAPWG

Report to the Executive and staff on RAP progress.

January 2019 – January 2020

Chair, RAPWG

Ensure all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees have the opportunity to provide input to the RAP.

December 2019

Chair, RAPWG

12. Review and refresh RAP

Deliverable

Timeline

Responsibility

Liaise with Reconciliation Australia to develop, review and refresh the RAP based on learnings, challenges and achievements.

October 2019 – January 2020

Chair, RAPWG

Submit the draft RAP to Reconciliation Australia for review.

November 2019

Chair, RAPWG

Submit the draft RAP to Reconciliation Australia for formal endorsement.

January 2020

Chair, RAPWG

Contact details

Executive Lead: Meg Montgomery
Position: Executive Director, Policy Coordination and Governance
Email: rap@det.nsw.edu.au

Download the RAP

Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan for Corporate Staff: January 2019 - January 2020 (PDF 2375.4KB)

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