Cultural Safety Framework

Information on the cultural safety framework project and progress to date.

As Aboriginal people are the Traditional Custodians of NSW, we refer to Aboriginal people. The department’s Aboriginal programs and services are available, without question, to Torres Strait Islander peoples.


The development and implementation of an Aboriginal cultural safety framework across the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector is part of the department’s commitment to the First Steps Aboriginal Children’s Early Childhood Education Strategy 2021-2025.

The First Steps Strategy is reflective of the department’s commitment to improving outcomes for Aboriginal children and families in the ECEC sector and aligned to Outcome Area 3 of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.

The department is leading innovative work to create culturally safe environments for Aboriginal children and their families. It is also committed to enhancing the knowledge and understanding of all children and their families about Aboriginal peoples and their cultures.

About the Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care

The Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care (the framework) aims to:

  • support uplift within the ECEC sector by providing clear expectations, standards and guidance to support services to develop, maintain and improve cultural safety
  • encourage best provision and maintenance of culturally safe and responsive environments for Aboriginal children, their families and ECEC staff in every type of ECEC service
  • support an increased participation of Aboriginal children in ECEC services.
  • enhance knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal history and culture.

The framework is being developed using a phased approach. The 4 phases of the framework project are:

  • Phase 1: Consultation

  • Phase 2: Co-design of the framework

  • Phase 3: Development of the toolkit, resources and the implementation plan

  • Phase 4: Implementation of the framework.

The Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care will consist of a range of tools and resources to support ECEC providers and services in NSW enhance their programs, services and delivery to become more culturally safe and responsive.

Phase 1: Consultation

The Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) – National Voice for Our Children conducted sector-wide consultations on behalf of the department in 2022. A variety of consultation methods were used by SNAICC to engage stakeholders, including:

  • face-to-face consultations with Aboriginal communities

  • tailored online surveys for various stakeholder cohorts

  • focus groups

  • engaging with children in ECEC services to gain an understanding of what makes them feel culturally safe.

Phase 1 of the project concluded in late October 2022. SNAICC delivered the Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care - Phase 1 Final Report (PDF 815 KB) (consultations outcomes report) to the department in November 2022.

An abridged version (PDF 242 KB) of the full consultations outcomes report was also developed by SNAICC.

During phase 1, the department hosted the 'Cultural Safety Webinar – Introduction to the Consultation' for the ECEC sector to share information about the development of the framework and the consultations phase.

Introduction to the Consultation

- Everyone. Yaama everyone. Welcome. I think I just might give it another minute or so before I launch in, 'cause I can see some numbers going up. Yaama, welcome everyone, Yaama and welcome everyone. Yaama, welcome. Yaama. Yaama everyone. Yaama to everyone that is joining us. Okay, I think I might start now. I know the numbers are still going up, but I know we do have a jammed pack agenda today as well. Yaama maliyaa, hello friends, and welcome to the first information session on the department's development of a Cultural Safety Framework for the early childhood and education and care sector. My name is Stacy Parry. I'm a proud Gomeroi woman and the manager of the Cultural Safety team within Regulatory Strategy Policy and Practice Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services directorate. I am also your MC for this online webinar. This event has been developed to inform early childhood education and care services and stakeholders about the work and consultations underway that will shape the Cultural Safety Framework. But most importantly, this webinar provides an opportunity for us to come together as a community, share information and hear from people who've been involved in developing this exciting and innovative project to date. This webinar is for all staff and management boards and volunteers from early childhood education care services. And on behalf of the department, I warmly welcome everyone that is participating online this afternoon As it shows that you are interested and support... Interested and supportive of creating culturally safe and responsive environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in all early childhood education and care services across New South Wales. This webinar includes engaging and informative topics with key speakers from a range of key agencies and voices from across the sector and community. Yarn ups will be utilized throughout the webinar. These yarn ups are short and used to update and inform our audience. I will be yarning with Nat Heath, the manager of the First Nations team, early childhood education directorate Department of Education. I'll be yarning with Maurita Cavanough and Deanne Towney representatives from the Early Child Education Aboriginal Advisory Group. Joanne Goulding, Director of THRYVE New South Wales. SNAICC national voice of our children. And there will also be presentations from Tammy Anderson, the principal of Briar Road Preschool and Amy Shine, the director of Forbes Preschool. Before I go any further, I would like to acknowledge country. I'd like to acknowledge the traditional and ongoing custodians of the varied countries we're meeting virtually across today. I'd like to pay respect to elders past and present and extend that respect to all mob joining us today. I would now like to read a Twitter quote from SNAICC as part of my acknowledgement. Together, we can build strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children who can walk into every room, knowing who they are, where they come from and with the pride and understanding that comes with knowing they belong to the oldest and most resilient culture in the world. I've picked that quote specifically to read out and share with you all today as it's our collective responsibility and one of the aims of the cultural safety framework project that we're here talking about today. Okay, housekeeping. Your microphone, video and chat function is disabled during this webinar. We encourage you to use the Q and A button at the bottom of your screen to ask questions. You can type in your question into the Q and A. You can also see and vote on other people's questions, which you would like answered during the webinar with a thumbs up. We will prioritize the questions with the most votes and try to answer these during the webinar. If we don't get to your question today, please reach out to our information and enquiries who are always available to support you with other questions related to service operation, and you can contact them on 1800-619-113, or by emailing The information and enquiries contact information will be placed into the chat for ease of reference. We will also be using Menti during this session. So please have your phone or another web browser ready to scan to enter the code on the screen when it comes up so you can participate in the interactive components of the session. This session is being recorded and can be accessed on our webpage after the event. The webpage details will be in the chat as well and the surveys that we will be discussing are also available on our webpage, and that will be also in the chat. Okay. In this webinar, we will be exploring cultural safety and the journey so far. So I will interview Nat Heath, the manager of the department's first nations team, and he will discuss cultural safety and the journey so far. We'll also be exploring the department's plan to develop a cultural safety framework for the early childhood education and care sector. So there'll be various speakers that will talk about the department's plan to develop this framework and why we need this framework. We'll also be exploring culturally responsive practices So we will have Tammy Anderson from Briar Road Preschool and Amy Shine from Forbes preschool, sorry, Amy, who will be sharing culturally responsive practices from their services. And we'll be talking about the consultations for the cultural safety framework. So Joanne Goulding from THRYVE in New South Wales will tell us about the consultations for the cultural safety framework project that are currently being conducted. And we want all of you to be involved surveys that need to be completed and you'll learn more about these surveys as the webinar continues. I'd now like to introduce Shane Snibson, the relieving executive director for the Quality Assurance and Regulatory Services Directorate, who is going to speak about the department's commitment to cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families, and welcome our keynote speakers.

- Thanks Stacy for doing that. I'd also just like to say a warm welcome. And I'd also like to acknowledge that I'm joining you from Darug land today. I'd like to pay my respect to elders past, present and emerging. And without being too self indulgent, I've just come back from five weeks leave through Central Australia and Northern Queensland and it was just... It struck me today in preparing for this session, how some things are meant to happen for a reason. And it just struck me with where I went on on my holiday, just the majesty richness of culture. The exposure I had through that holiday and the exceptional resilience and tolerance and the spirit that I saw with people... First nations people I interacted with through that trip, but equally I also got a taste in the stark reminder of prejudice and systemic disparities that do exist in society in Australia. And in some ways it just really, you know, fired and fired up that light around how important this piece of work is. Like, it just couldn't be the timing Stacy couldn't be... Couldn't be better around us launching and making a commitment, you know, to support a cultural safety framework having just had got out of my little bubble of Sydney and got some firsthand exposure to the richness and beauty and tolerance and resilience coupled with some prejudice and some issues. Just helps me double down and gives me great pride in being able to, you know, support and give a scene setting for today's webinar. And I hope all of you out there listening feel the same way in some way and the fact that you are here demonstrates to me that you have a genuine interest and commitment to furthering how we engage and give young people the best start with early childhood. We are very excited to be doing and today is a bit of a spook and it's about giving this project that gravitas it deserves, and it is about the department taking it seriously to support growth and improvement across the sector. So just, you know, whatever you take from today, please, please take that as one of the key messages. We are strongly committed to doing it right, and doing it properly. And hopefully with what you hear today, you get a sense of that it is genuine, and we are here to listen and we ask... We're not in a rush. And when we say we want everyone to participate, we've got the capabilities to actually do it and give you an opportunity to shape up and improve future. But just in terms of setting the scene, one of the significant summary findings from the early childhood educational Aboriginal round table report back in October, 2020, was that Aboriginal families want early childhood services to be culturally safe environments. I don't think that's... Won't be a surprise to anyone that's not too much to ask at all. But the findings from that report to the New South Wales depart of education and with working closely with the early childhood education advisory group and the Aboriginal community to then develop the Aboriginal children's early childhood education strategy, first steps 2021 to 2025, which I'm sure a number of you would be familiar with. That strategy reflects the vision goals and outcomes that the department wants to achieve for Aboriginal children and families broadly broader than the ECE across the whole department and their aims. In partnership with the ECE sector and the stakeholders over next three and a half years. The vision of first steps is that all Aboriginal children in New South Wales can access quality early childhood education and are supported to embrace their culture and identity for a strong start to lifelong learning. The development therefore and implementation of a culture safety framework for early childhood sector is an important element to achieve the outcomes was the First Steps Strategy. And we see it as an enabler to support services deliver on those outcomes. It will hopefully support uplift. We are cognizant and mindful that services are on various parts of that continuum and some are doing amazing, excellent work. Some are making good steps and good progress and others, you know, might be looking to start that journey. And we understand that now the Cultural Safety Framework should support uplift with the sector for providing clear expectation standards and guidance to support services, to develop, maintain and improve cultural safety. Department... we are driving, we think this is the interview work to create culturally safe environments for Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander children and their families. And following this consultation to understand more about what it should look like or feel like. We are looking to then do co-design across the community sector and other agencies. And essentially we say this is entity because there isn't one that's in existence in the nation. So this would be the first ever cultural safety framework in New South Wales but we are not aware of any others across the nation either. In order to give a little bit of excitement and understanding and purpose behind this project and in some ways give it the launch it deserves. As Stacy alluded to, we have a range of people to speak to you today to inform you and inspire you. That will include Nat Heath, the manager of department's First Nations team. Who will provide some history and background to the Cultural Safety Framework and how we've got to where we have today. We're really pleased to be able to hear from Maurita Cavanough and Deanne Towney who are representing the department early childhood education, Aboriginal Advisory Group, and they'll share with us what cultural safety means to them from their perspective. Tammy Anderson, I've actually had the fortune of hearing from Tammy previously and she'll have us all glued to our seats and talk about her experiences at Briar Road primary school and Amy Shine has done... There's been an amazing uplift and a recent journey of improvement out at Forbes with her preschool that we're really keen to hear her talk about and her perspective. The Department also introduced its Cultural Safety team and Joanne Goulding from THRYVE New South Wales, who we've commissioned to undertake a critical piece of work around consultation around the framework to set a foundation for us moving forward. And that Stacy who is emceeing us and also playing a critical role to talk a bit about where we're up to now with community consultations are taking place as we speak and other aspects to the Cultural Safety Framework. I'm really pleased to be able to have this session today. It is nice to be able to bring a number of people together with some something to showcase, Something we think is quite exciting, something that is really warranted and is important work, but equally we think it's something that everyone can contribute to. And we hope today inspires you to be able to play an important role moving forward. So I hope you find it really engaging and beneficial. We're happy to take questions and it's a start of further engagements with you and others over time. Thanks Stacy, for the opportunity to do a bit of scene setting. It's always difficult over the camera to do that, but hopefully people now feel well placed to settle in for the next little while to hear from our important guests. Thanks Stacy.

- Thanks boss, thanks for setting the scene and you're absolutely right. Aboriginal culture is so diverse across the nation and we do get to do something within New South Wales, which allows, you know, the diversity of our Aboriginal communities to be able to shine. Okay, we are going to launch straight into an interactive element, our Menti, just to see who we've got here with us today. So if I can ask our audience to please scan the QR code or go to and enter in the code. And the first question is what part of the early childhood education sector are you from? What service type do you represent? Are you a parent or are you in family daycare, or please get on and answer that question. And then the next question is the Cultural Safety Framework. Though we're in the very, very early stages we're hoping it will provide, you know, clear expectations and standards and guidance to support our services, to develop and maintain and improve cultural safety so that Aboriginal children and Torres Strait Islander children feel culturally safe in any service. But also improve the knowledges and understandings of Aboriginal Australia for all children. What do you see as key elements to achieving this? Like I can ask you all to scan and yeah, start filling out the form. Oh, we have people from long daycare, family daycare, preschool, three to five, community based preschool. We've got DOE staff members here. We've got people from QARS the regulatory authority, long day care center, local government long day and preschool, community based preschool again, it's center based. Okay, so we have a nice range and a diverse mix of attendees here today. And I do just wanna say now thank you for attending. You showing up and being here today shows that you're super keen and interested in cultural safety. Disability sector, outside school hours care, fantastic. We always have Tracey Sell in our department talking about before and after school care. So she'll be impressed. Excellent. Okay. We've got guidance, yep. Lots of staff training, yes, yes. And we're hopeful that once we have a Cultural Safety Framework that we can start finding out what that staff training would look like engaging with Aboriginal people and listening. Yes, so understanding the protocols around that engagement. Education for early childhood educators around how to implement the framework absolutely would be a very valuable part of the process. Respect, understanding knowledge, empathy, language revitalization. Yes, language revitalization is on the ground happening right now. And a lot of our early childhood centers are looking to teach Aboriginal languages and through language we do learn about Aboriginal Australia. Someone to guide each service, inclusive environments inclusion agency. Accessible resources, access to discussions, forum, webinar, local connections. How to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait perspectives into our ECE sector. How to consult with your local Aboriginal community, cultural training at a local level. And I think that's a really important point at the local level. As Shane mentioned, our Aboriginal communities are diverse. So it has to be at that local level 'cause every Aboriginal community is different. Trauma informed, relationships, respect, communication, understanding cultural consultation. We need to explore and understand, okay. We'll keep those coming through but thank you very much for participating in our Menti today and sharing your thoughts because we are in the development stage and so we do actually want to hear, you know, what would ECE services like included in a framework. I'd now like to introduce Nat Heath, the manager of the department's First Nations Team who is going to talk to you about the development of the Early Childhood Education Aboriginal Advisory Group and the first step strategy and revisit the cultural safety journey so far. Unfortunately, Nat wasn't able to be here in person so we did have to do a prerecorded interview with him. Nat has been working in the early childhood sector with the department for several years and has been a driving force behind the development and the implementation of the First Steps Aboriginal Children's Early Childhood education strategy, which Shane was talking about earlier. In this pre-recorded interview with Nat, you'll hear the history of the cultural safety journey, which will provide the context and the background about why we are actually here today. Can I please ask you to start the pre-recorded interview, Karen. Yaama Nat and thanks for joining us today to provide the background of the work the department is about to commence around cultural safety. Firstly, before we begin, can I get you to introduce yourself, tell me who you are, who your mob is, where you're from and your role within the early childhood education directorate.

- Yeah. So thanks Stacy for having us. So I'm Nat Heath, I am the manager of the First Nations team within early childhood education. Our people are Mandjildjara and Noongar so here's a perfect map of Australia. So normally our people are down in that Southwest part of WA and the Mandjildjara people are a Western desert people. So great grandma's from Molena and great grandfather was from the Menang people of the Noongar nation, but grew up in God's country first. So I've always lived over on the East Coast and very passionate about Aboriginal education, been working in Aboriginal education. I don't know, since whenever I finished uni a long time ago, but yeah, so yeah, currently the manager of the First Nations team.

- And doing an exceptional job. The Early Childhood Education Aboriginal Advisory Group was established to provide a voice and guidance to the department around early years Aboriginal education. And you established that Early Childhood Education Aboriginal Advisory Group, can you tell me why?

- Yeah, so we were, we had... I started in the department at the end of 2016 and at that stage there was only one program designed to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, which at that time was run by an organization which was, you know, doing good things. But essentially at that time, a non-Indigenous organization or run by a non-Indigenous person, which that's exchanged. But so we, there was like a lot of things that needed to be done as far as getting... Doing the right thing when it comes to working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to benefit or empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. So we established a couple of programs, but there were year on year programs. There was no structural framework to, I guess, give a foundation and solidification to those programs. Like they could come and go depending on the leadership at the time. So we were really keen on establishing an Aboriginal early childhood education strategy which gave a commitment from the department and from the New South Wales government to make sure that we, with our programs or initiatives, that there was a long-term commitment to those programs or a long-term commitment to doing programs, which were going to empower our children. But if you're gonna do that, then it needs to be done in collaboration in consultation and it needs to be designed in ideation from First Nation's perspectives and as an Aboriginal person working in the government, like, that's great, but you're still a government representative so we wanted people on the ground. So at that same point in time, we... You had things such as the Uluru statement, which was, you know, the conversation around that was having a voice to parliament. So we kind of took that idea or that idea around, well, let's have a voice within the early childhood education directorate. So the reason why the advisory group was established and I have to give props to the leadership that we we had and we have which initially was Kathleen Forrester, who committed to it and she was the executive director at the time. And then Gill White and Sharon Gudu came in after Kathleen and they also committed to this process. So the idea is making sure that if we're going to design a strategy, it needs to be led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and people that work on the ground. And whilst we work in government and we have our ideas and our perspectives, we don't work necessarily on the ground within early education services. And we're not always experts, we're here to facilitate and try to get the best possible outcomes. So the advisory group was essentially established to help co-design the first steps or what became the first steps strategy, the Aboriginal childhood, children's or the Aboriginal, Early Childhood Education Strategy. And right now we're going through a bit of refresh because the strategy has been launched in June last year. And we're now looking at what is the next approach for us as a directorate, as a department of education and also with the First Steps strategy, what's next and how can we, you know, get the advisory group to, I guess go even further than just what they've done so far. And so we're in the process of actually getting the right people to help us on those next steps as far as early education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

- Thank you Nat. And as you mentioned, First Steps, you know, co-designed with the Aboriginal Advisory Group, it is a five year strategy. It really solidifies the department's commitment to ensuring the best educational outcomes for Aboriginal children. And it really ensures that every Aboriginal child and family feels welcomed and a culture valued and respected in the early childhood services. The first step strategy is something that I'm very committed to and why I'm here in the department working towards those outcomes. You've touched on the co-design process and the importance of the AAG in delivering on that strategy. So now can you tell me about how the Cultural Safety Framework connected to the First Steps Strategy?

- Yeah. So with the First Steps Strategy, there went through a range of kind of ideations and like most government strategies you generally have, like these pillars or foundation of what the strategy's about. And initially we kind of had like child, so child at the center, of course, we had like educational outcomes and then we had culture as its own separate pillar. But the more we, I guess, delve deeper into how the strategy was gonna land working with the advisory group. I mean, culture, it couldn't be its own separate pillar it needed to be weaved into the actual fabric of what the strategy was about. So it ended up adjusting, I think we ended up landing it like child, kinship and then like educational outcomes and culture was underpinning or was the foundation like if you were to build a building at the bottom, which if we don't have the culture right, then, you know, the child, kinship, educational outcomes, none of that will actually turn out positively. So throughout the strategy, it talks around the importance of making sure that no matter what, early childhood education service, an Aboriginal child or Torres Strait Islander child walks into and their family walks into that center, they should feel welcomed and accepted, valued and safe. And that's an interesting thing, 'cause you know, some services do it fantastic, some services are on a journey and some, you know, have a long way to go. So I guess underpinning the strategy was making sure that that was our end goal, that no matter out of any 7,000 services in New South Wales that a child walks into, they will be welcomed into that service. And the education that is provided to them will be engaging and value that child's culture. So that really sort of, once that was established of like, that's the end goal for us taking away all the different targets that were set and all the... Like that's the ultimate goal. The need for a cultural safety framework was established like that's something that we as a government need to lead with First Nations peoples to develop a framework which guides the sector because we are there to guide the sector. I mean, we have currently a hundred departmental education preschools, but the majority of services are run by, you know, whether it's family daycare, whether it's long daycare services, community preschools, they're run by community, Indigenous and non-Indigenous. So we need to provide a framework that supports and guides the sector. And then obviously that will have a phased approaches as far as, well what does the sector need to help 'em get there? What does it look like as far as quality practice, when it comes to welcoming Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, and then, you know, how do we actually then support services along the way to training and also like evaluating the way that they do that. So that's why the framework is being established so that we get to that ultimate goal that every child does feel valued, welcomed, and appreciated in every single early education service.

- And I have to say within the First Steps Strategy you read the vision and that wording they're supported to embrace their culture and identity for a strong start in life. And every single one of those goals, you were just talking about the child, the family, and the kinship and the learning, all mentioned a celebration of culture, valuing culture strength based approaches. So, you know, you've mentioned some key points and you're absolutely right. The end game is that every single one of our kids and families, when they enter anyone of those services feel culturally safe.

- And additionally to that, every child in New South Wales and Australia and every family, every person, we would love to see valuing the oldest living remaining culture in the world. And obviously through the education system, we haven't done that very well historically. We're starting to move into better, a better pathway, but if you look over New Zealand, like the key narrative about that nation is the Maori culture and that's something that we would love to say that every child celebrates Aboriginal people with the oldest living remaining culture. So whilst it's ultimate goal is to make sure that Aboriginal children feel welcome. Like we do want to create a shift in the way this nation works as well and having every child value our people, our cultures.

- Thank you for mentioning that. And I think the other point you made about the sector, finding out what the sector needs, what supports, what guides so that they can actually get to that stage as well is why we are here today and we're having this yarn is because we really wanna develop a framework that supports every single service across the state depending on where their point of need is and take them from that point of need. Like you're saying, professional development, resources whatever that is, so that they can help celebrate the oldest living culture in the world.

- Yeah definitely. And you... We've got obviously, you know, family daycare or we, you know, we've got people from a range of cultural diversities that run ECE services. And for many people, they haven't had the opportunity to either engage with Aboriginal communities or learn about Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander culture. So it's difficult sometimes to be able to then use like actually implement best practice because they haven't had that opportunity to be encompass within our community. So we do need to guide that process, to help people along the way so that they do feel more comfortable and want to embrace Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander cultures.

- Thank you Nat and I do look forward as the manager of the cultural safety team working with yourself and the team. I really did enjoy yarning with Nat and hearing about the history of the Aboriginal Advisory Group and the First Steps Strategy. And that the end goal was always to create culturally safe environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and for the whole sector to learn about and value the oldest living culture in the world. If you would like to know more about the First Steps Strategy, a link can be found in the chat box. And I'm now going to move on our Aboriginal Advisory Group members. One of that's other achievements was the creation of the Early Childhood Education Aboriginal Advisory Group. And as mentioned via both Nat and Shane, the Aboriginal Advisory Group was significant in the co-design of the first step strategy. And today we're so lucky to have two members of the Aboriginal Advisory Group with us, Maurita Cavanough and Deanne Towney. Maurita and Deanne, both work in the early childhood sector and their experience and advice has been invaluable to the department. I'd now like to introduce Maurita Cavanough and Deanne Towney who are representing the Aboriginal Advisory Group. And the three of us are going to have a little yarn about cultural safety, the Cultural Safety Framework and what it means to us.

- Hi guys

- Yaama.

- Yaama.

- Yaama Deanne, Yaama Maurita.

- Hi everyone.

- Firstly, can I please get you to introduce yourself, tell us who your mob is, where you're from, what your role is and what service you also come from. Who is going first.

- Yeah, okay, if you want I'm Deanne Towney proud Wiradjuri woman from Wellington New South Wales, currently the director of Nanima preschool, which is on Nanima reserve, which is the oldest Aboriginal reserve in New South Wales. My father was born on the Nanima mission. So I love being back there to be able to give back to my people, I did live in Sydney for 10 years. I hold a Bachelor of Teaching early childhood and a cert for in business governance. And I also am a board of Wellington Aboriginal corporation health GWAHS, which is a Greater Western Aboriginal Health Service and maayu mali program in Moree

- So you're very busy Deanne Quite a lot of organization during your yes, involved with, all right, Maurita, who's your mob? Where are you from? What's your role?

- Yeah, so I'm a Bundjalung woman and so I've got twice ducati My grandfather's from down Kempsey way and yeah, I'm in Lismore based and I'm the director of Jarjum Center. So I've been here for about 10 years and previous to that, I worked in the early childhood sector another 10 years. So yeah, really love what I do and yeah.

- And very good at what you do. Thank you ladies, for joining us to talk about the Aboriginal Advisory Group, Nat talked earlier about the importance of government giving voice to Aboriginal people. The department's platform is through the Early Childhood Education Aboriginal Advisory Group. What is the AAG Deanne?

- The AAG is the group of Aboriginal representatives that come together with a department to ensure First Nation voices are being heard in the decision making of our children and communities in early childhood. It includes staff from the department of education, Aboriginal organizations, including services, professionals, SNAICC, AECG and community members. Our biggest achievement being so far the implementation of First Steps. And I also, the reason I joined was because my vision's very much, the vision of the AAG, is for all Aboriginal children in New South Wales to have access to quality early childhood education covering areas of the child's needs, family kinship and learning. And also being from a rural community, our needs are very different to the needs of services in larger areas. So I really thought our voices needed to be heard.

- Yeah. Rural communities absolutely need to be heard. All right. Maurita, why did you join the Aboriginal Advisory Group?

- I think firstly Nat did a lot of leg work, so, you know, gotta give him props for that, you know. He went out to community in those years that he talked about and he got to know everyone, so we trusted him. And so when we heard about, you know, when I heard about the AAG, I thought like we're a community based preschool and at that time we had nowhere to go, you know. I'd always be tormenting the department, writing emails. And I just thought this was a good space where we could be heard and where the context, where we come from the context are all different in Aboriginal communities where, you know, like I would have the opportunity to share what was going on with us and our perspective. So, yeah.

- And thank you both Deanne and Maurita for joining the Aboriginal Advisory Group, you are too very strong black women in the interactions I've had with you and you are really being a voice for our communities and making sure we're heard. The Aboriginal Advisory Group, you both mentioned it. Co-designed the First Step Strategy. And that strategy's end goal was always that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children felt known, valued, cared for and accepted within any early childhood services that they attended. What does a welcoming environment that values and respects and celebrates culture look and feel like to you guys?

- So, you know, to me, cultural safety is building an environment and community that is safe for people. There is no assault or challenge or denial of their identity and also of who they are and what they need to be able to be to belong and become is very important for not just staff and children, but families and community.

- Absolutely. Absolutely. What Maurita do you think a service that creates a strong sense of belonging for Aboriginal children and families look like? What do you think? What do you think when you think about a, you know, giving our kids a strong sense of belonging, what do you think it looks like in a service?

- That's a really good question and I've never been asked that before, but I guess for me, it's reflective in the space and it's reflective of the relationship and the community and the connectedness, you know, because children are part of our wider community and culture is, you know, weaved through those connections. So for me, it's going into a facility and seeing that there's some elements there present, but also in the relationships that you have with educators that there's that respect and acknowledgement as well. So it's seemed visually, but it's also felt, yeah. So I think it's great to be able to unpack that.

- Yep. Yep. And you're absolutely right. As soon as you just said the word relationships, you know, Blackfellas that's how we interact. It's, you know, it's central to everything that we do. It's never about the outcome. It's about the relationship and that relationship staying intact and I really felt you, when you were talking about the relationship. Relationship with your community relationship to the people. So when I think about, you know, a place where you belong, it is a place where your community is accepted and there are strong relationships.

- Guys, and feel free not to answer this question, but has there been a time in your life where you have felt culturally unsafe? And if you ever have felt culturally unsafe, you know, how did that make you feel?

- I haven't felt culturally unsafe, but I have... I have actually had remarks and comments made that made me feel a bit uncomfortable. I did work in a major national organization and their main core business was not childhood early childhood, but there was a center there. When I worked there, there were often comments because I'm a fair skinned Aboriginal person, they didn't realize I was actually Aboriginal. And there were comments made about Aboriginal people and also about them coming from housing commission estates and areas. I did point out to these people that I was actually Aboriginal and I was actually bred in a housing commission home all my life. And that, you know, I came from an upbringing which showed a lot of love, support, guidance and culture. And I think it really came back to lack of education in that environment. And yeah, it was a bit bad to see, like sad to see, cause it's a national organization and, you know, I was a manager at that time, but I did find it quite challenging.

- Oh, I think, you know, you absolutely would've, you know, to be in a room or a work environment where there are generalizations and stereotypes about, you know, us people, it can make a feel a certain type of way. And you're absolutely right Deanne is all about education. And I think that's what we all want for this educating everybody so that way, those stereotypes and generalizations aren't made about about us and our, you know, homes and et cetera, et cetera. Maurita, I am now just going to ask you, why do you, or why do we need a cultural safety framework for the early childhood education and care sector?

- I think Nat hit the nail on the head when he spoke about, you know, like historically, you know, it's been tough. It's been tough, not so much for me, but I know, you know, speaking to my father and my grandmother, you know, it hasn't been that nice and primary school wasn't very nice to me either. And I think it's just about that lack of awareness and you know, understanding. And also too, when we're looking at the closing the gap strategy, you would think, you know, like child's doing pretty well, but you know, there's still a large number of First Nation's children that aren't attending. And so I guess we need to look at what is it that we're not doing? What are we hindering it or how can we support the process and make it a lot easier for the most disengaged children and families to participate in early childhood. So I think that that's something that we need to put, you know, like at the forefront of our minds and I guess too, you know, it's a good opportunity. Like we really, as early childhood educators and people that work in early childhood, we put a great emphasis on reflection, reflective practice, critical thinking. And I think with the framework, we would have something that could articulate what a culturally safe space looks like. It's something that a bit of a baseline and I think for us to move forward, it's absolutely the right step.

- I agree. And, you know, you think about the sector and the sector having this cultural safety framework and you're absolutely right. Historically, as Nat said, like you've just said, you know, education hasn't been a space for us where we've been able to feel safe. And today still, you know, there is data, you know, kids aren't accessing prior to, you know, school settings. And so we need to make sure that we have our kids front and center in early childhood services, 'cause we know when our kids access prior to school learning their outcomes, you know, they're gonna have more success at the kindergarten, more success than in finishing year 10 and year 12 and their life opportunities. So there's such valid points. And I really liked when you summed it up it does become a tool for educators, you know. That really articulates exactly what a culturally safe environment looks like, what culturally responsive practices are like. So I couldn't agree more Maurita with you on that one. And so that brings me to the last question that I will ask this afternoon is what does the department and the early childhood sector need to do to develop this cultural safety framework?

- I think they need to continue the participation with stakeholders, such as AAG, Aboriginal organizations, ECE services, SNAICC, AECG, families and community members. Also closing the gap, including which includes our education, housing, and health. And also the first steps. Cause you know, the cultural governance needs to guide this as we will guide responsibilities and relationships with governance services clients, partnership stakeholders and stakeholders that we do.

- And what about you, Maurita? Is there, what do you think the department and the early childhood sector need to do to develop this cultural safety framework?

- I think once the framework is developed, I think that what we need to do is link it the NQS and so that, you know, like we are holding services accountable and also too, and it just helps us again to articulate it exactly what it looks like and to incorporate it in our daily practice. I think that that would be a great step.

- I absolutely agree with the, complimenting it to the national quality framework because we don't want this to be an add-on. We want it to compliment, we want it to be embedded. So that way it's just done every day. Deanne and Maurita, thank you so much for joining the webinar today. I do wanna thank you both and all of the early childhood education, Aboriginal Advisory Group members, just for being active members and representing your communities and that the work that you have done is absolutely going back into our kids and communities and really setting us up for success. So thank you both for participating in the webinar today and thank you for all the time and effort actually put into getting us into this point today.

- Thank you.

- If you are interested in knowing more about the Aboriginal Advisory Group or would actually like to join that group, we are going to pop a link into the chat box where you can find out more information about the Aboriginal Advisory Group. Okay, just checking the time. Okay, beautiful. Okay. So I'm just going to go very quickly through a couple of slides now that really just talks about what it is, how we're gonna do it and who's responsible. So what does the cultural safety framework aim to do? And we've really touched on this with Nat and Shane and Maurita and Deanne. Aims to uplift the early child education sector by providing those clear expectations, standards and guidance to support services to develop and maintain and improve cultural safety. It also aims to encourage best provision and maintenance of culturally safe and responsive environments for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families, and early childhood education staff in every type of ECE service. And it also aims to ultimately support that increase that Maurita was talking about in participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in ECE services. We want every Aboriginal tribe accessing a prior to school service. The evidence shows us that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have better educational outcomes when their education enhances their identity as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is of critical importance that our early childhood education services, our culturally safe places where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children feel respected, their culture's celebrated and nourished. And ultimately this framework will contribute to the achievement of the vision and the outcomes in the First Steps Strategy and the achievement of targets and outcomes within the Australian government's national agreement on closing the gap. And I guess at the center and at the service level, the cultural safety framework will really improve the sector's understanding and recognition of Aboriginal people's histories and cultures. Enhance relationships in the sector between service providers and children and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander children and families. That'll also create a sense of belonging for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in services. Okay. So how will the cultural safety framework be developed? The department will take a staged approach to the development and implementation of a cultural safety framework. Once each phase has been scoped by the department, it will lead or it will seek suppliers to undertake each phase of the work. The development of the framework will occur over time. As you can see, there are four phases. And the first stage is consultation with stakeholders, which is now up and running. The secretariat of national Aboriginal and Islander childcare better known SNAICC have been contracted by the department for the consultations and Joanne Goulding the director of THRYVE, which is SNAICC's New South Wales arm is here today to talk about the consultations that are being held now and how you can participate in those consultations and that she will compile a consultation outcomes report. And that is due to the department at a later date. And the second stage for the cultural safety framework is co-design. And this current phase is currently being mapped out by the cultural safety team. And it will be very dependent on the consultation outcome report, but the department will work closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and with the early childhood sector, during all phases of this project. I am just going to now ask my boss, Yasmina Kovacevic who is currently the relieving director of the Regulatory Strategy, Policy and Practice to introduce herself if available. I know she's a busy woman, I'm not sure if she is.

- I certainly am Stacy can you hear me?

- Yeah. Hi Yas Would you like to introduce yourself?

- Yes, I would. And thank you Stacy for being brave enough to attempt to pronounce my surname.

- I did got wrong too. Didn't I?

- You came very close, very close. Now I can't see myself on camera, but I'll assume that others can and look, that's not the most important thing really. The more important thing is for me to say Yaama, Yaama everyone. It's fabulous to see a moment ago, I saw over 257, a slight drop off hopefully they're just grabbing a cup of tea. Stacy is doing a fabulous job at emceeing so thank you so much and indeed leading the cultural safety framework, large and exciting project for the department and for the sector. I just wanted to quickly reflect Maurita Deanne and Nat's presentations and their reflections. How great were they? And I love to hear from Maurita about her particular area of passion or something that she would love to see. And she connected the cultural safety framework to hopefully one day be embedded in the National Quality Framework. That's a perfect segue for me, so I won't speak too long, but I just have a few, I think, exciting things to mention. So I'll start by acknowledging the Gadigal people of the of the Eora Nation and I pay my respects to their elders past present and emerging. I'm going to just read out a statement. It's a very short statement. Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders cultures are valued. Now this statement you may be surprised to know is actually embedded in the children's education and care services national law. It's a key guiding principle of the national quality framework. So while it doesn't explicitly state cultural safety framework, it makes me excited to know that it's actually included in, in the national law, which also tells me that Australian governments have had this commitment for a while. And we are now stepping up and ramping it up into a cultural safety framework. So I'll just tell you very briefly the national quality framework, it guides the overall regulation of all early childhood education and care services, not just in New South Wales, but across Australia. And it includes all types of services, long daycare, preschools, family daycare, outside school hours care. So what you've been hearing about the journey that Stacy mapped out just earlier on the couple of slides are the development, the consultation, the co-designed really important phases and stages of this work, all of this links to that guiding principle that holds governments to account, to ensure culture and cultural safety is embedded within each child's early childhood education and care journey and experience. So our broader business unit, so I'm not speaking to the slide, sorry about that Stacy. But on the slide, you can see just a really high level mapping so that you get a feeling as to how this work is being shaped and how it's being driven. And we intentionally put cultural safety team at the top because they are the driving force with the community, with our consultation colleagues, partners in SNAICC, wonderful Joe, our advisory group, all of the key stakeholders and that work is being supported by the broader business unit called regulatory strategy policy and practice. And we sit within a unit to many of you may have heard of quality assurance and regulatory services in effect that is the regulatory authority for early childhood education and care services in New South Wales. So we make important risk based decisions on things like approving a new provider to come into the sector, approving an application to open a new service. We do monitoring visits and quality ratings. So we support the sector with tailored training resources and programs to empower them to provide safe environments and the best and highest quality experience for all children. The work of developing this cultural safety framework will contribute to these important child level outcomes. And it's being led by these wonderful and talented, capable cultural safety team. So I'm gonna hand back to Stacy and Ron, and I'd like them to take the lead and tell our audience something interesting about yourselves and more about how your team works, over to you Stacy.

- Very quickly, because I do wanna put us on a short break. So I am a proud Gomeroi woman. My family are Smiths and Duncans from Moree, born and raised on Darkinjung country on the Central Coast. And I come from a strong Aboriginal family who fought for Aboriginal people's rights to housing and education and employment. And just like my family, I'm really committed to the part of my people and being of service to my Aboriginal community. I'm a member of the Darkinjung Local Aboriginal Land Council Nowra local Aboriginal education consultative group, and a board member of Yerin Eleanor Duncan Aboriginal Health Services and the Aboriginal health and medical research council. I worked in the department for a number of years and I'm back with the department to lead the cultural safety framework project within the early childhood education sector. As we know that we can make the biggest difference for our kids and communities in this space. Now Ron's internet has been terrible today. Let's see if it's held up because I'm gonna hand over to Ron Ron, if your internet is working, are you just able to introduce yourself? And Ron is also in the cultural safety team as the senior project officer.

- Yeah. Hi everyone. Can you hear me? Hope so?

- Yep.

- Yeah, my name's Ron Timbery and my community is the La Perouse community in Southern Sydney. My mum and dad, they both grew up in Southern Sydney, close to Botany Bay or Kamay it's Aboriginal name all my life. My dad is a Timbery and my mom is a Ptitman. I'm a proud Bidjigal man. And my ancestry goes back to the Dharawal and Yuin nations, Southern Sydney and also the South Coast of New South Wales. Mum and dad were both born into big families. The Timbery side have a long history in La Perouse and they also have strong connections on the South Coast down to Wollongong and Nowra. Mum's family has history in La Perouse, Sydney and down in Yuin country but mum's family spread to various parts of New South Wales, including Walgett, Bellbrook, that's Kempsey, Purfleet , Mount Druitt Western Sydney and also Wreck Bay on the South Coast. Both mum and dad's families have strong resilient histories, which I am very proud of. I've worked in Aboriginal affairs for many years. The majority of that time has been working in government, but I've also worked in the community and not for profit sector. I'm really, really excited to be working on the cultural safety framework project. I believe the framework can bring the early childhood sector and Aboriginal community closer together and provide Aboriginal children and families that sense of belonging they are seeking as well as set Aboriginal children onto an improved pathway for school education and lifelong learning. Couple of the photos I've got there, just to the third row, bottom left on the extreme left. That's my mom with her siblings. Next to that is me in the blue shirt, my younger sister in the green, and that's my dad in the purple shirt that was at my sister's 50th, couple of years ago. The bottom right photo, that's the first La Perouse rugby league team that started back in 1940. Got photos of dad's, dad and his siblings, the middle row. Second on the left middle row first on the left that's me when I graduated from uni and my wife, Natalie and my two kids and we live at Botany. Our house, it's a recent picture of our house top row, extreme right. But yeah, thank you for listening and it's great to be working on the project and I'm really excited about it, thank you.

- Thanks, Ron and we are currently recruiting for our project officer position and your internet held up really well, Ron. Okay, so we are now going to have a short break and we will resume back in 10 minutes. So that means I need everyone back here at 4:14. If everyone can be back, quick cup of tea, quick toilet break, and be back at 14 minutes past four, that would be fantastic. Yaama. I hope that we are all back for the last 45 minutes of the session. Before I move on, I just want to say that there has been some really good questions go in the chat box and I'm going to answer those ones live at the end of the session. So definitely keep those questions coming through. Karen I might get you to just move on the next slide, please, we might just leave that one for now. Okay. So I'd now like to introduce Tammy Anderson, who is the principal of Briar Road Public School, Briar Road Public School has a departmental preschool and this service is currently rated exceeding national quality standards. Briar Road preschool have been recognized and public school have been recognized for their ability to establish effective partnerships with Aboriginal parents and communities. They set high expectations for Aboriginal learners and the design and delivery of innovative solutions to meet the needs of their community. Tammy is here to share how she's created a culturally safe and inclusive school. So we are going to welcome Tammy and Tammy and I have had a discussion, she's got 10 minutes, don't you Tammy?

- I do, but I'm glad to be here Stace.

- I'm really happy to have you here, you're amazing. You have really got a culturally safe and inclusive school and couldn't ask for a better person to come and talk about what they do within their school to support Aboriginal kids.

- Thanks so much Stacy, afternoon everybody. I am conscious I've got the graveyard shift, so I'm gonna try and make this as punchy as I can. And afterwards, if you've got any questions, send them through to Stacy and I will certainly answer them. I am, by no means the holder of all knowledge I work with an exceptional school team in our preschool unit, who are the drivers of change for us. And I'm very fortunate to just be steering them around as a leader. So I was really honoured to be asked to come here and share a little bit about the story of Briar Road. I first wanna acknowledge country and the unceded connections that we have as a sovereign people to country and the many countries that you are all sitting on today. I'd like to honour your rivers, your mountains, your stories, your connections, your kin, and for all of those brothers and sisters that are out there I honour you and your work that you are doing for our non-Aboriginal brothers and sisters who are in this space and our allies to our work. Thank you for your work and your commitment to making sure that our kids absolutely get the best outcomes possible. I acknowledge as a mark of respect to people to place and to country. And thank you for listening to me today. Why me? Why my story? Why is it even interesting to you? I hear you say at four o'clock on a Wednesday, but this is me as a little girl who was privileged enough as a Biripi woman, living on Dharawal country. I was privileged enough to get an opportunity to go to early childhood and care in a local KU now KU service in our community. And I believe that my mom's foresight into how important that was, has really helped pave the way for my educational opportunities as an Aboriginal person, along with my own hard work and determination. But I certainly know how important education was in changing the narrative for me in my life. This is me going into Briar Road Public School. Yes, Briar Road, the same school that I am the principal of and I really love that connection that has been unbroken almost like mine and country, but unbroken with my school community. That school is very important to me, both spiritually, professionally and personally, it has a a big space in my life. And it's a place that has a preschool and our preschool is an offering the year before school like DOE preschools are. And one that is manned by an exceptional preschool teacher, Carolyn Hutchinson and a wonderful identified SLSO in there in Kirby Hutchinson and Melissa Anderson. So why does it matter? Why chat today? Why culturally sensitive framework? SNAICCs say it very well, they say that our children have the right to thrive and to grow up healthy and supported by strong families and proud in culture. We have an inherent right to connect with our culture and education once was a space where dispossession occurred. We can change the rhetoric for that. And I'm excited to see a cultural safety framework exist in the early years so that we know that the footing our kids get is the very best one. And it's one that we have been implementing in not so much of a formal framework at our school, but one that has kind of been a... I suppose some key points that drive our work, and I'm gonna share them with you. In terms of cultural safety, it supports all outcomes across the early years learning framework. It can build across everything and anything we are doing in preschools it's just about the way that we view it I believe as facilitators and educators. In terms of cultural responsiveness, in a nutshell, cultural responsiveness is about listening and creating change, being responsive to the needs that exist in your services. And for us around culturally responsive practices require us to really deeply and critically reflect on who we are as educators and what is it that may, maybe sometimes holds us back from doing our best work. In terms of systems and educators. Some of the things that we do at our school, we try and really move through. It's beautiful to have a yarning circle and we have it, and it's beautiful to have community coming in and, and you can see uncle Paige there doing fire, starting with our kids. It's beautiful to have those real life learning experiences, which are embedded in a cultural practice, but it needs to be deeper than that. And if we're really gonna change the rhetoric for education, and in particular, in that year, before we start school, we knew we had to change some things. So I've listed a few of the things up there that is a good practice in cultural responsive systems, but there's a lot of things that don't sit in there. But one of the things that we most are driven by is a self-reflection in our place. Chris Sarra does say at best, when he talks about in our community, we need to do things with people and not to people. And it's where community play such an important and critical role in the work of our school and our school community. We want community to be seen, known and heard the same way in our system. We talk about children being known, valued and cared for, but we wanna do that on a cultural front. Not just, hi, how are you going out the door? But tell me more about you. Tell me more about you as an Aboriginal person. Tell me more about the things that you wanna see strengthening your child in terms of their identity and their connection to people in place. It's about acknowledging place and a lot of you, what is beautiful to see the movement that's happened in terms of our services in the early years, having acknowledgement of country, whether they're placards or our kids singing it or there's a something up on the wall. But what we need to do is make sure that we honour it every day. We need to take it a little bit further now. So we've got that great fundamental practice embedded in our work, but how do we go deep on that? What are some of the other things that we can do to really connect to country, to change the outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Sitting and listening and being okay with that yarning with community and not pressing it for time. We're not a people who are pressed for time. It takes as long as it takes and sometimes it's about working towards, well, not sometimes it always is about working towards the agenda of the people you're servicing rather than what it is that you need. And I think it's important to keep that in mind when you are setting circle with community and having those conversations. You're being out and about in the community, it's more than NAIDOC week in your school. If Aboriginal people relied on NAIDOC and reconciliation to change the outcomes for our people, we would get no shift whatsoever. They are practices that I think are there to acknowledge and celebrate for rec week in particular, a learning time where we need to stop and reflect, but certainly getting out there and knowing who your local services are, whether it's your AECG, Aboriginal medical services, your local Aboriginal lands council, really connecting. Procurement of Aboriginal services, buying blak. The importance of buying authentically from black people. We are very, very present in the business space and in particular in those early years. So really having a look at what is it that as a school we are buying and who we're buying it from and where that money goes to so that's been something that we've worked on. I've got some other things like making sure that, you know, that connections, they say that it takes I think it's a 16 hours to build a Toyota and three years to build a Rolls Royce. I think something to the, or 12 months, maybe a Rolls Royce, but keep that in mind that, what do you want? Do you want a strong, sustained long term connection that's really gonna build a service that is responsive and safe, or do you just want something signed off? There's a distinct difference between what you want and what community need and so just keeping that, and that's not saying that we are all doing that. It's just something that we need to be mindful of when working with our community, because in our community, like in your work time is also precious. And the consistency, I think providing a culture... Providing a platform for culture is something that I certainly can do in my role as a principal. But I know that in our preschools there are educators do that each and every day, but it's being mindful of, do we have that platform? Does it exist? Do I need to do more around that work and not having anyone feel uncomfortable to ask, can we do something? Not have someone come and, you know, beg for the dollars for NAIDOC week. You know those kinds of things really kind of require us as leaders to think about what it takes to create a culturally safe and responsive environment. Our school is a very unique school, that little boy in the tub, I have permission to publish. He's not naked, he's my son. He has autism. He has an intellectual disability. He has a severe receptive and expressive language delay, and he's black. And one of the things that you see there is him doing the vision of our school, and I've listed it there in four points, but it's, he's honoured. He feels a sense of belonging where he is uniqueness is valued and honoured that he's brave to take risks and big risks that result in his personal best. That he has the right to have high expectations relationships, both of him and of the people that teach him and that he is empowered throughout his life. And that's what we want at our school for our Aboriginal children. Creating the safe place just means about diminishing and demeaning and creating a space where we say that that is not okay for anything like that to appear to live or to breathe that we make sure that meet the needs and expectations of rights and rights of Aboriginal children, community and staff members. That's something that come out of the Maori people in New Zealand and certainly not something that I have created, but in Australia, we are really taking those fundamental learnings from that and creating cultural safety. And I've really loved having the opportunity to share with Stacy and I'm excited to see this commitment and work in the early years setting because we really, really need it. We need to remember that white Australia has a black history and that doesn't hurt. That is not about blame, but that is actual fact and truth telling. And if we talk about reconciliation in this country, we need to truth tell. We hear it in, at the Uluru statement about truth telling and its non-existence in critical spaces. And if you are not okay with that statement, what I would say to you is critically reflect on why and that's okay if it's your upbringing, if it's things that you've seen or experienced, that's okay, that's your story. But understand when every Aboriginal kid walks in your service, that that's what they know and that's what we are taught in our homes and so how do we honour that in our work, in our institutions, we need to be truthful and honest even when it might not feel good. And sometimes when you're walking through a space where education's been used to disarm, dispower and dispossess people, that there's gonna be spaces where it doesn't feel good and that's okay. And we need to sit with that and sit with community to support them. You're all educators out there. And you know, a lot about Vygotsky no doubt or when uni was about you did and he says that language and culture are the frameworks through which humans experience communicate and understand reality. And as early years educators, I know you really understand that. But how much of that is entrenched in an Aboriginal lens? And I think that that's some of the spaces that we can go and do some further work. I don't believe you need to be Aboriginal for it to matter and to make a difference, I believe anyone can make a difference when you do the working consultation and working with Aboriginal people, not doing to, but doing with. This is what I believe as an educator, period, but also something that I hope happens each and every day in my preschool, but everyone who works in it leaves it better than they found it. And one of the things I'd say to you is just set yourself a workplace challenge in terms of cultural safety. What's the one thing tomorrow that maybe you can do to start turning the tide in your setting. Thank you everybody.

- Thanks, Tammy. This is your fourth presentation today. I know you're incredibly busy woman. The work that you are doing at Briar Road public school is amazing. I just saw the document that Sessy just published around cultural safety and Briar Road public school and the four pillars. You should just be really proud of the work and the leadership that you have out at Briar. And I have worked with Carolyn Hutchinson, your preschool teacher, who is absolutely amazing. And yeah, those key points around cultural, being culturally responsive, working with your local community groups. Procurement support black business, and you know, history we can absolutely change that. And now's the, you know, it has been happening and now is definitely the time and we can absolutely change that and everyone here can make that difference as you just pointed out on the last slide. Thank you Tammy for joining us.

- Thanks everybody. It's been an absolute pleasure and I hope that at some point, if we are ever in the same room, please come up and say hi. And if you're ever out and about in Southwestern Sydney, feel free to drop in

- Thanks Tam and we'll get you for a longer session. One day two to unpack those things further. Thanks Tam. Okay. Okay. I'd now like to introduce Amy Shine, who is the director of Forbes Preschool. Forbes Preschool have committed to increasing Aboriginal enrolments and improving service delivery to better meet the needs of their Aboriginal community. And Amy is here today to share their journey, to creating a culturally inclusive school. And she will make comment that it hasn't happened overnight. I would like us to welcome Amy.

- Thank you, Stacy. It is lovely to be here. I'm meeting you all this afternoon on Wiradjuri Country. It is getting a little bit dark here and it feels a lot later than 4:30 so thank you for persisting everyone. I hope that I make it as enjoyable as what Tammy just did and all the other speakers. So like I said, Stacy, thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity to share with you my experience as a non-Aboriginal director. So what Tammy just said at the end is really meaningful for me, I think you don't have to be Aboriginal to make a difference in this space and that's what I'm gonna share with you this afternoon. So we can just go to my first slide. So I actually did present this last year to a group of principles in Sydney. I think in the early childhood sector, we are actually doing a really fabulous job that there is always more we can do to improve. So I wanna share with you how yes we can and what we did at Forbes preschool. If we can just go to the next slide. So I've put a photo of my beautiful team in there. My team has actually grown since this photo, but I just really think it's really important to understand that it does take a team and we need a leader to start this conversation and to start making a change. But in the end, it is about your whole team and my whole team, I moved to Forbes over 10 years ago and led this reconciliation journey for us. But it's by no means me who's driving it anymore. I have this fabulous team and it's a culture that you see at Forbes preschool the minute you walk in our door. So when I did start over 10 years ago, if we can just move to the next, I moved to Forbes, preschool and I... Bit of my history is before that I'd worked at Gilgandra preschool where I learned so much from the fabulous uncle Ralph Naden and Kim and the community out there. I worked at Walgett, I worked at Coonamble. I made some great relationships out there that had a real impact on who I am today. And when I went moved to Forbes Preschool, I was astounded to see that we had little to no Aboriginal enrolments. There was no feeling of culture in the preschool. There was really high fees. It was really exclusive. So you only went to Forbes preschool if you were from an affluent background. I felt like we were quite isolated and quite siloed in who we were we didn't, you know, I think they were trying to do work within the community, but I could just see there was so much more we could do. And the management committee had quite a fixed mindset on how we do things and how we charge fees and how we would run our preschool. So I was... I'm really proud of the change that we have made in those years. So we can just move to the next one. So as you can see in our statistics, when I moved here, we only had two Aboriginal enrolments and I think that was probably just by chance. I went out and I door knocked to people, I introduced myself to services. I even went and met with our local mayor and talked about the changes that I wanted to make in our community. And what was our community also doing? So I saw it as a bigger picture thing than just our preschool. By making a few simple changes, like buying some local artwork, employing Aboriginal staff, being culturally sensitive and being of service where whenever you walked in you felt comfortable and you felt like you belonged and didn't matter who you were. So as you can see, in 2011, we soon had an increase in Aboriginal enrolments that increased again in 2012. And by then we were starting to outgrow our preschool. So when I started, we didn't have a wait list and you could come to preschool five days a week or three days, whatever you wanted. So we went and we talked to the department about what we were doing, especially in the space of our Aboriginal families. So we secured some funding to build a new preschool. And while it is beautiful to be in a million dollar preschool, it's not the be and end all. Our old preschool was just as beautiful and I still miss it today. But yeah, we were very fortunate to build a new preschool that we moved into in 2016 which allowed us to increase our enrolments and also see an increase in Aboriginal families as well. In 2019, we were announced the winners of the Reconciliation Australia Narragunnawali Awards. That is an absolute highlight of my career, maybe my life and for my whole team. In 2021, we continued working locally with our wider community and we had an Aboriginal trainee. She was finalist for our regional training awards. I think it's about celebrating our whole community, not just our preschool, but we celebrate individuals as well. And this year we have 60 Aboriginal enrolments and we continue to try and make improvements with our preschool, continue to engage with our community and with taking it to a wider community now as well. We actually see a flow on from our preschool to primary school, to the high school. We work so closely together, it just feels like one whole... I know the education in Forbes just feels like it's... We're all on the same page and we share so much, we share training. Only last week three of my staff did connecting to country with the high school and the primary school. So it's a really nice community of education in Forbes and I can see a shift in our community at how we are, how we see reconciliation and how our culture is shifting in our, yeah, in our community. So if we can go to the next one, I'll be like 10. I'm talking really fast 'cause I know it's the end of the day and we do only have a short amount of time. So some practical changes that we made, like I said, were, the first thing I noticed was we didn't have any Aboriginal staff members. So we employed one Aboriginal staff member to start with. We now have four that's increased and it's decreased over time, but we now sort of, we now have a bit of stability and have our four Aboriginal educators. And I always think that that should be reflective of the percentage of Aboriginal children we have at preschool. So we have lots of beautiful local artwork displayed. And I think that's really nice too, because we've even had one of our local artists come in and did some artwork with the preschool children and now that's displayed at preschool. So it's a really nice connection to our community. Yoorana Gunya is a local Aboriginal health service that also supported us with transport, 'cause transport was one of the barriers that we identified to why children weren't coming to preschool. So they had a bus service that they did on in partnership with us, which was great. It also was sort of another hand... For another voice for preschool. So if parents weren't comfortable to talk to me or our Aboriginal worker, they could talk to the Yoorana Gunya staff or vice versa. If they weren't comfortable with the Yoorana Gunya staff and the health, they could talk to us. So it was a really nice little partnership we formed. Lots and lots of cup of tea everyone. Networking and building relationships and taking the time and making sure they're genuine and authentic. If you get asked to have a cup of tea, you are up in a rush, we have all the time in the world. Those relationships that I formed those years ago are just priceless today and I think once we can build those trusting relationships, it can be passed on to other people. So we now also have, we're also NDIS providers at preschool now and have speech therapist and occupational therapist. When I started, no one was really engaging with those services. But now that when I can say to a family or not just me, one of my staff members, no, I trust this person. She's our speechy here. You can do it all under our roof. You can just see the physical relief in people like, oh, thank God. I don't have to go to another service. It's like a wraparound service, it's all under one roof, but I could talk to you about that a lot more another day. And it's also about being part of our community, inviting others in and us going out our community. So there's a local Wiradjuri Choir with one of the primary schools that we do a lot with. There's a Girri Girri group, which is a high school group of kids that come and do activities with our kids and I love that, we all love that because they are so good with our kids, it is awesome. And I think it's, and that's actually them in that photo there. I think it's so lovely for the older children to be seen as leaders in our community and to know that they can be leaders. So yeah. Next slide. So, yeah, like I said, we have increased our programs at preschool as well. So we are fortunate enough to be doing the Ninganah No More program. So we have an Aboriginal teacher who's teaching language and culture with our families and we've got a young trainee at preschool who's dying to get into that space as well. So I think the energy is contagious. I think once we start, everyone wants to get on board. And I had two other staff that wanted to do connecting to country last week. But unfortunately with COVID times and sickness, we couldn't all go. But it is infectious and once you start, you'll absolutely love it. We developed a pop up preschool. So that was about going out into our community because I really identify that when I did some home visiting in the early days, I just found the relationships with the families was different when I knocked on their doors to when I expected them to come to me. They were so much more relaxed in their own environment, be at the park or their house. So we now pop up regularly in little pockets of the town. And it's just us going with actually with another Aboriginal family worker in our community. So it's partnerships with community and it's us getting out and about in a place and you don't have to be a preschool family, anyone can come. It's just a place to get to know us and for us to get to know our community. It was actually quite beautiful when we started, 'cause I went to see the council and went back and told the preschool kids and they went, oh yay. You gonna get rid of the birds. I was like, buddy, I'm gonna do more and get rid of the birds for you. So that was lovely. We also have a healthy beginnings program spot, which is a school readiness program about speech pathology and IT school. This program, everyone has access to that the year before school where NDIS providers, we have, we also have some clinics that run with our local health people, allied health. So there's a mother's group on Mondays. There's a domestic violence group on Thursday that we don't even see. It's just about getting that as wraparound services into our preschool. Next slide.

- One minute, Amy. Sorry.

- Oh yeah. Sorry. I know I could talk forever. So yeah, we won the Narragunnawali Awards, it was amazing. And it was just so amazing to celebrate that with our whole community. We have all one different awards individually that this award was so special because it was about our whole community and our whole community could celebrate it. And from that, I have actually seen a whole shift with our, especially with our older community. I think one old fellow said to me, he was probably a bit racist when I first met him. He said, tell me about what you're doing and why you're doing. And I've seen, I've heard that more and more. So it's just a lovely shift to our community. There is a little link to our video, but I'm sure we can watch that another time, that's from the Narragunnawali Awards, but yeah-

- We might paste in the chat

- Yeah, engage with your community. Have a go, be brave, make a change and yeah. Walk hand in hand, it's not about you, it's not about me. It's about us all walking together and celebrating this beautiful culture and this beautiful land that we live on.

- Thank you. Thank you Amy, for taking the time to one, craft this presentation, but then to also take us through it today. You know, door knocking to bring up your Aboriginal enrolments, you know, making spaces that look visually appealing, employing staff, making sure everyone feels comfortable in their setting to now having 60 children. You should be really happy with the work you've done. As Tammy said, anyone can make a difference. You know, if it's something we're focused on, then we can absolutely bring change. And I do wanna thank you for the work that you've done at Forbes and for coming and sharing your story today.

- Thank you.

- I am now going to ask, hopefully that Joe Goulding is still on the line. Joe, I would now like to introduce Joe Goulding who is the director of THRYVE, New South Wales, SNAICCs, New South Wales division. And she's gonna talk to us about stage one of the cultural safety project consultations if she's out there. Welcome Jo. Hi Jo. I just wanna say firstly Yaama. And can I please get you to introduce yourself, tell us who your mob is, where you're from and your role.

- Yeah, sure. Thanks Stace. I too, just want to, you know, pay my respects and acknowledge our elders past and present now emerging leaders. Aboriginal present people that are... Aboriginal people present with us this afternoon. This is the graveyard shift and I'm sure that there are a lot of families coming in to pick up their kids at this time so thanks for hanging in there with us. All other colleagues here today, and of course country. I'm coming to you today from the lands of the Dharawal mob. And I love that you guys are using SNAICC quotes and Twitter posts in the opening and some of the presentations here that's really inspirational for us. Hi, everybody. As Stacy mentioned, my name's Jo Golding. I'm a proud Bidjigal woman belonging to country at La Perouse. And thank you, Ron for that daily post, photo that you posted in your bio with the mission there. That really warmed my heart. Located on the East Coast there in New South Wales, just a short drive from the Sydney city. I too also belong to a family with a very long history of activism and advocacy for mob through my grandparents. I belong to the Simms Timbery line and I'm connected to the Yuin mob down the South Coast. My grandfather was a Stuart stolen gen from Yuin country and I'm really fortunate, Stace to be leading this THRYVE, New South Wales division for a national peak in SNAICC that really holds the same values as myself and my family.

- And well, absolutely. And can I just say you do have the biggest mob, the Simms mob. I know there's quite a few of them mob around. Can you Jo, tell us a little bit about THRYVE New South Wales, the division under SNAICC.

- Yeah, sure. It's probably better if I give a little bit of a brief history on SNAICC itself. So SNAICC, you know, is an organization that has been built on the blood, sweat and tears of grandmothers and family members tired of their children being removed. We are a national non-government peak body and the national voice for our children. We originally formed in 1981 and we've got a dynamic membership based really of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander community based childcare agencies, multifunction Aboriginal children's services. So the MAC services, long day cares, childcare services, preschools, early child, all early childhood education services that are community controlled. Support organizations, family support, foster care, family reunification services, services that are funded in the child protection space, as well as the ECE sector. And, you know, SNAICC really exists to see all Aboriginal children and Torres Strait Islander children, you know, really growing up to be happy, to be healthy, to be safe and to be connected to their community, their culture and their kin and to be proud in their identity. THRYVE New South Wales is one of SNAICC's jurisdictional divisions. And we were established really out of a need expressed by some of its members in New South Wales, you know, reaching out for direct support in the Aboriginal early services area in New South Wales. Our strategic objectives here in New South Wales have really been shaped and co-designed by these services. So the MACs and the ACFCs based on their direct needs and, you know, we work endlessly to achieve those outcomes for them, but we don't just stop there, you know, as a typical corporation may do and then revisit that. We will evolve and adapt those goals as we are moving through and progressing them to continuously improve in what we're offering those services.

- Thanks, Jo. And yes. SNAICC or THRYVE New South Wales responded to the department's request for quote, for phase one, the consultation of the cultural safety framework. Can you tell us a bit about the surveys that you are using for phase one of the consultations?

- Yeah, sure Stace. I think, you know, I think we need to acknowledge and recognize that SNAICC has a national peak given their long history, providing advocacy and working closely with governments on policy reform, planning and strategies. We're an agency that it made sense to be tapping them on the shoulder to respond to the quote. And of course, you know, the THRYVE division has membership with the AAG and relationships with ABSEC, FPD and NDIS, the AACG and our local Aboriginal community controlled organizations. We're only 12 months and we are still sort of establishing and knocking on doors and making those connections and communications with all of those echos across the state. And, you know, I'm really thrilled to see that the Mentimeter that you guys had implemented earlier are identifying all of these key elements of cultural safety. You know, there's such an appetite for change and a real appetite for learning and leaning in, you know, comments like wanting and seeking authentic relationships and, you know, really looking for embedding knowledges and cultural safety, across all areas of the ECE sector and their business activities is really inspirational. And it's probably, you know, really related to the way in which we have constructed these surveys, you know, which have largely been underpinned by the literature review that we'd undertaken inclusive of the department's round table discussions. And we've really utilized and embedded the cultural safety continuum from the Australian human rights commission in their social justice report in 2011. And this awesome tool is really utilized quite extensively in cultural safety discussions and workshops and, you know, its applications in non-government and government sectors, you know, publications, et cetera. So we had a discussion with the team and really thought that this continuum demonstrates a movement through six phases of cultural safety. Right? And we really need to recognize that at the start of that, you know, is cultural destructiveness, you know. Very deliberate policies and exclusion of our mob, and then moving through different phases into cultural, what we've renamed cultural responsivity. It did have cultural proficiency there, and we worked shop that quite extensively and replaced it with responsivity because we didn't want language to be indicative of landing in a particular place. And we really wanted this to be more a journey that people were coming on with us, but also to really encourage some critical self reflection on one's own cultural bias. And to really question that because I think to move into the space of cultural safety, we really have to make sure that people are able to do that critical reflection and, you know, potentially feel a little bit challenged. Potentially feel a little bit uncomfortable. I've had conversations in my career where, you know, academics had really no idea of the true history of our people in this nation and, you know, leaning into those conversations and encouraging them to come on a bit of a journey. But look, Stace, we've conducted two of the four face to face consultations and we started in two remote areas. Those consultations have been completed. The sites we selected were based on census data where high population stats of Aboriginal people, but we really wanted to make sure that we were capturing very remote regional areas and urban areas. We have two more to go and they they're capped at 20. And this yarns... This yarns on safe spaces, face to face services that communities trust and where our mob feels safe. And they're done in an informal way, like a yarn. And, you know, the staff that are conducting and facilitating these yarning sessions with mob on country are all come from trauma informed background. And we have included in our face to face consultations, some wellbeing packages and some follow up phone calls, because, you know, you've heard from mob today talking about how they have felt culturally unsafe over the years. Deanne shared with us, Maurita also shared with us and, you know, those yarns can be potentially triggering, right? So we've really gotta make sure that we're looking after mob when we are asking them to share those things and go for a trip down memory lane and tell us about that uncomfortability. We're a team of all Aboriginal staff conducting those face to face consultations. With the team, we also decided to develop four particular surveys because we need to ensure that we're extracting the feedback from different cohorts with very differing cultural views and perspectives and backgrounds. So the rationale was to capture those perspectives and to really develop questions and identify where their strengths sit and where opportunities for growth can, can actually sit. And we can extract that in the analysis and they will, of course inform the, you know, the subsequent phases of this particular framework for the department. The first survey, if I can, Stace and potentially you might have the link there, you might be able to pop it into the chat box.

- Yes.

- The first survey is from, for our Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander families and carers with little ones that are currently potentially gonna be enrolled, or perhaps have just finished enrolment in an ECE. And we are really trying to capture what they feel cultural safety needs to look like and feel like for them when they enter a service. What needs to be visible, I mean, Tammy touched on a lot of this, what needs to be visible? What needs to be in your communication? What sort of language are you using? How you're communicating, you know, how are you engaging with your local community? And what are your relationships look like? You know, how are you embedding it in practice and in policy throughout your service. And the questions there are really shaped around extracting what we need to get from families and mob on what they need to see so that we can analyze where those gaps might sit when we are measuring against the other surveys that we've created. The second survey has been designed specifically for the Aboriginal community controlled ECE sector. So these are all of our Aboriginal community controlled services, whether they be preschool, MACs, ACFC or otherwise. And these two have been designed, these are our cultural experts, right? Working with our mob on the ground. So this cohort will help shape what cultural safety, again, needs to feel and look like, but you know what they're doing. And that's already been demonstrated here this afternoon, identifying their amazing cultural strengths. And we have slapped in there, a rating on you fellas as a department on where these services actually feel the department sits on the continuum. And you know, this is about saying, well, let's find out where you think they sit and then let's have a yarn to mainstream services and see where they think they sit and let's find out what that analysis can tell us on how we can find those gaps and make those improvements or recommendations. And that survey, Stace, you might be able to pop into the chat pad as well.

- Yep. The comms team are onto it. They're gonna pop these into the chat box

- Awesome, thank you. I'm just mindful of time and it's nearly five o'clock and people are probably going, oh my God, come on land this plane. The third survey is for mainstream services that aren't Aboriginal community controlled that don't have the luxury of a cultural expert, right? So you might have one educator that you're leaning on for all of that support that in itself is actually culturally unsafe. It's important that you're able to recognize that building your staff and your relationships and not using one person to develop programs and to, you know, run your NAIDOC and your cultural events. And I mean, that's been addressed earlier today too, but this particular cohort will be asked where they rank their own service and what they would like to see in terms of support from the department. So, you know, we've had lots of yarns and I've spoken to some mainstream services that have kind of said to me, look, we don't know what to do. So we're not sure protocol, and we're not sure where to reach out, so we don't do anything. And so this is a really perfect opportunity for mainstream services to identify where they feel the department is able to place some supports or potential training and development. And I think that, you know, we're asking services to also rate priorities, you know, for the NQS for improvement and Maurita had alluded to this earlier in the yarn as well. We've got lots of stuff in there around workforce training and development, the whole sector is suffering with workforce training and development at the moment and keeping and retaining staff. We've also got a number of questions in there in relation to, you know, different activities that, that services might like to see. The fourth survey is of course, for you fellas here at the department and the department don't get to opt out. You too will be participating in this survey, you fellas. So, you know, you guys have got a role to play and Shane's commitment in the opening talking about, you know, his humbling experience on his recent trip and, you know, the self-reflection and the conflict that he was able to see and recognize, and you know, mention here today in this webinar. So, you know, we're asking staff to, at the department to, you know, measure their own, I guess, cultural position on the continuum and, you know, ranking the department that they're working for. And of course the last is, and the most important is for our little ones, we have a drawing, or we're asking educators or mob to actually, you know, I stated once, what feels deadly about going to school? What is it that makes you feel happy and sing? And, you know, we've done some work with some of the educators around when you're watching them and you see them feeling happy. What is it that they're engaged in? Some of the feedback we have had is around when they have community come in and do dance or they're practicing ceremony, or, you know, one little girl had alluded to, you know, what makes you feel black and deadly. And she commented that, you know, she thinks about boomerangs when she was asked about what makes her feel safe, black and deadly, which was really cool too. So that's it for the surveys and the feedback Stace. Look, my, the message that I really wanna land here as a project lead for this cultural safety consultation is it's important to have a voice. It's important that our mob have a voice, our families and our communities, our educators that are working their butts off and other cultural experts in the ECE space that have adapted in the last two years in phenomenal ways to support their communities. The mainstream providers that also have Aboriginal enrolments, you guys have a role to play. You know, this is your chance to also put your hand up and identify with the department, what it is you need and how you need that support. And, you know, making sure that everybody is included in this journey, this is not something that is gonna be tokenistic. SNAICC would never involve themself with any government project that they viewed as a tokenistic approach to doing anything for our communities in particular cultural safety for children. We're interested in the journey and the long haul. We're interested in making sure that this really lands and that the department will be implementing this project to ensure that all our little ones and our families have a safe place to begin their early learning journey.

- Thank you, Jo. And thank you for going through all four surveys. I'm very mindful of the time, we've definitely chat... We've definitely placed the surveys in that chat box. I strongly encourage just like Jo, have a voice, please get on complete that survey. I do wanna say thank you very much, Jo, for your time. Yes, you were right. That was the graveyard shift time to wrap up now. But I so appreciate you selling and doing the work. The surveys are amazing, we're going to get such valuable information. So that way we can now go out there and start creating a framework which guides the sector. So that way our kids can absolutely feel culturally safe and Aboriginal education can be front and center in the day to day programs of services. I do wanna say thank you, Jo. And I wanna say thank you to all of our keynote speakers that have participated in today's session. And I'm going to hand back to my boss, Shane Snibson, the relieving executive director to do a quick wrap up.

- Thanks Stace and I'm absolutely gonna go off script here, 'cause I know we're behind time. Just also wanna call out thanks to Nat, Maurita, Deanne Jo, Tammy and Amy all spoke quite eloquently. The case for doing a framework is compelling. The opportunity to achieve excellence, we've also seen that today through our amazing speakers and we don't underestimate the challenge though, to come up with something that suits and will meet the needs of Aboriginal children and families, the beneficiaries, but knowing that it needs the support and delivery of the sector and services and that they're that we need something that is able to talk to all services and meet needs of a diverse range of community. And that won't be easy, so we don't underestimate the challenge, but we're up for it. We're in safe hands and I hope you've seen today that we are genuinely committed and we're doing this properly and with the the right way and the right people and with the right understanding to get something that is workable and usable to support and assist services going forward. I wanna encourage you all as Jo said more eloquently than me to participate in the surveys, it is your chance to have a contribution and give voice to help inform other consultation phase of what cultural safety framework might, what it looks like and feels like and that will inform phase two and the co-design. Thank you so much for your time. I hope it's been of some value and it's sort of, you know, implored you to be committed to participate where you can. And the final spruik is we need you to fill the surveys in and we can let Jo and her team then dissect that and analyze and give us good feedback. So thank you so much for your time. The numbers have been impressive. Thanks to the speakers and we'll talk to you all very soon. Thanks so much.

The department extended phase 1 to ensure the Cultural Safety Team could visit the Aboriginal communities that participated in the consultations to share the findings. Four ‘On-Country experiences’ were held in Campbelltown, Nowra, Lightning Ridge and Brewarrina in May 2023.

A group of seven smiling people stand in front of a media wall featuring a graphic of a tree in earthy colours. Two raised arms joined at the palms form the trunk of the tree. Black stickers, which feature key themes from the phase 1 report written in white text, are stuck on the leaves of the tree. Four of the people pictured wear polo shirts with brightly coloured Aboriginal artwork. A group of seven smiling people stand in front of a media wall featuring a graphic of a tree in earthy colours. Two raised arms joined at the palms form the trunk of the tree. Black stickers, which feature key themes from the phase 1 report written in white text, are stuck on the leaves of the tree. Four of the people pictured wear polo shirts with brightly coloured Aboriginal artwork.
Image: Tharawal Aboriginal Corporation’s Julie Backhouse, Tranaya Bell, Amie Sperring and Ileasha Jones-Berry with Ron Timbery (CST), Shane Snibson (R/Executive Director, NSW Early Childhood Education and Care Regulatory Authority) and Toni Ross (CST) during the On-Country experience visit at Waranwarin Child and Family Centre, Minto.

Aboriginal people and communities have long been advocating to government to explain how consultation findings inform future steps. These ‘On-Country experiences’ illustrate the department’s commitment to listening to and working with Aboriginal people and communities to improve outcomes.

A second webinar for the sector, 'Developing the Cultural Safety Framework for the NSW ECEC Sector', was held in June 2023. The webinar provided an update on the project and key findings from the consultation phase.

A progress update webinar on developing the Cultural Safety Framework for the NSW ECEC sector.

Kate Hancock: Great, thank you to everyone who is joining us today for the Cultural Safety Framework Webinar. I can see the numbers are still going up, but I'm conscious of the time and we've got a lot to get through today. So, we're going to kick off. I'd like to begin by Acknowledging Country. I'm dialling in today from the lands of the Dharug people and I'd like to pay my respects to Elders past and present and any Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander People, joining us today. We also have a great little video from the kids at Kooloora Preschool that we'd like to share.

[VIDEO]: We place on the ground to acknowledge Aboriginal land. We place our hands in the sky that covers Aboriginal land. We place our hands on our hearts to care for Aboriginal land. We promise.

Kate: And that's such a great Acknowledgement from the kids at Kooloora Preschool and we're very grateful to have had them do that for us. I'm just going to start with a bit of housekeeping for our session today. You may have already noticed that our microphone, video and chat functions are disabled and they'll be disabled throughout the webinar, but you can ask us questions in the Q and A section and you can use the thumbs up button to up-vote any questions that you'd really like to see answered. We'll be using Menti to get your thoughts during the session, so if you have a device handy that will help you participate. This session is being recorded and will be made available on our website in the coming weeks. You will be provided with a copy of the slides, following the session. And importantly, I want you to know that this session is a culturally safe space and I'm going to introduce my colleague, Stacy Parry to tell us a bit more about what that means. Thanks Stacy.

Stacy Parry: Thanks Kate. The Cultural Safety Team, within the NSW Regulatory Authority who you'll meet very soon have developed protocols, setting the expectations around how as a community of practise we will work together in culturally safe and responsive ways. The Cultural Safety Team asks that you as a member of this community of practise come together to listen, to learn and share ideas, acknowledge and prioritise First Nations people, communities, families, their contributions and their connections with each other that you value each other, you value our differences and value all contributions and that we as a community of practise, support each other to grow and to learn, as we are on a journey. Yaama Maliyaa Hello friends and welcome to the second information session on the department's development of a Cultural Safety Framework for the early childhood education and care sector. My name is Stacy Parry. I'm the manager of the Cultural Safety Team, within the NSW Regulatory Authority and I'm also your host for this online webinar. I too would like to Acknowledge the traditional and the ongoing custodians of the varied Countries we meet virtually across today. I'd like to pay my respects to Elders past and present and extend that respect to all mob joining online. This webinar has been developed to update the early childhood education and care sector, about the Cultural Safety Framework consultations that occurred at the end of last year and the co-design journey, currently shaping the Cultural Safety Framework. But most importantly, this webinar provides an opportunity to come together as a community, share information and hear about the progress made to develop the first ever Cultural Safety Framework for early childhood education . This webinar is for all staff, management boards and volunteers from the early childhood education and care sector. And on behalf of the department, I warmly welcome everyone that is participating online this morning as it shows your interest and support to creating culturally safe environments for Aboriginal children in all services, across NSW. In this webinar, we will explore the public profile of the Cultural Safety Framework. Ron Timbery, the Senior Project Officer within the Cultural Safety Team, will outline the Cultural Safety Framework journey and the progress to date. Toni Ross, the Project Officer within the Cultural Safety Team, will share the key findings of the consultations outcomes, regarding the sector's cultural safety understanding and their needs. And Skye Trudgett, the Chief Executive Officer from Kowa Collaboration, will discuss the next exciting phase which is the co-design. Yasmina Kovacevic, the Acting Director for the NSW Regulatory Authority, will provide final comments and reflections and close our webinar. The NSW Regulatory Authority are committed to transforming their way of working with Aboriginal communities and the early childhood education and care sector in order to make substantial change for Aboriginal children in the earliest years of schooling. Three identified roles, within the NSW Regulatory Authority were created to lead the creation, implementation and potential regulation of the Cultural Safety Framework across the sector, as well as build cultural capabilities of the NSW Regulatory Authority staff and guide cultural responsive regulation efforts. That team are known as the Cultural Safety Team and we are the deadliest team in the NSW Regulatory authority, if I do say myself. I am a proud Gomeroi woman and I've worked for the department of Education for 16 years as a teacher and a senior education advisor. I work in the Regulatory Authority today to lead the Cultural Safety Framework, which is the first ever across our nation and to advocate for culturally responsive regulation. Over to Ron to introduce himself.

Ron Timbery: Thanks Stacy. Hi everyone. My name's Ron Timbery. I'm an Aboriginal man from the La Perouse Aboriginal Community, which is located about 15 kilometres south of Sydney city. La Perouse is located on the northern shores of Botany Bay and the Aboriginal name for our clan is the Bidjigal Clan and the Aboriginal name for Botany Bay is Kamay. I'm an experienced public servant. I worked in the public services for many years for different agencies, also worked in the Aboriginal community as well. I really love working in the Cultural Safety Team and I'm really passionate, about the Cultural Safety Framework and really looking forward to engaging with the sector and working with everyone to develop this framework. I'll hand over to Toni Ross.

Toni Ross: Welcome everyone. I'm a proud Gomeroi woman who is deeply connected to Country, Culture and Community and I'm privileged enough to live and work on country in Tamworth, NSW. I joined the Cultural Safety Team as I recognise the importance of the Cultural Safety Framework and want to be part of the opportunity in transforming educational outcomes for First Nations people. I'll now hand over to the Director of the NSW Regulatory Authority, Yasmina to introduce herself.

Yasmina Kovacevic: Hi everyone. Thanks Toni. Yaama I'm Yasmina, the Acting Director in the NSW Regulatory Authority. Sorry, just fixing my camera. And part of my role includes supporting this wonderful Cultural Safety Team who you just met. I'm a Balkan heritage, a descendant of Illyrian people from Central Europe, and I'm a proud ally supporting Aboriginal people and communities in ensuring opportunities are there to progress positive change for the future. I'm coming to you from the lands of the Gadigal people. I pay my respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. It is great to have such an empowered and knowledgeable team leading the Cultural Safety Framework. Stacy, Ron and Toni whom you've just met, collectively have a wealth of expertise, knowledge and lived experience, all of which support and guide the development of this ground-breaking work. I also wanted to say that we know there's great work already happening across the sector. What we are hearing is that there are services and providers who want to ensure they have Cultural Safety and responsiveness as a core ingredient to how they operate or work in the sector. What we also know is that there are progressive services and providers that want to start their journey but might not know where to start or how to do cultural safety. And that's okay. The Cultural Safety Framework, will help you with tangible resources and allow you to identify and understand where you are on that continuum. There will be tools and guidance to help every one of you, whether you are a provider, representative, a board member, an educator or a service leader. You'll find relevance to your work and your role in the framework. There's real momentum of positive change across the nation and I'm sure you've all noticed that and the Regulatory Authority is tapping into that momentum and responding. We're so excited today to tell you about the progress of the framework and what lies ahead. So, now I'd like to introduce you to Shane Snibson, Acting Executive Director of the Regulatory Authority. He's going to open today's webinar, discuss the Cultural Safety Framework progress and reaffirm our commitment to Cultural Safety for Aboriginal children and their families across our sector. Over to you Shane.

Shane Snibson: Thanks Yas, and welcome everyone here. As Yas alluded to, I do hope just to provide a few framing comments and then let you get quickly into to the real content and the real value of today's session. Before I do that though, I do want to thank the Kooloora Preschool at Toukley for Acknowledging Country. It's really nice to see young earliest learners, participating in cultural activities and acknowledging country is a good example of that. I'd like to also Acknowledge the Traditional Owners of land that I'm on today, the Dharug people in Parramatta and pay my respect to Elders past, present and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, joining us today. As the key executive sponsor, I must say, I am really super excited to see a large group in attendance today, over 450 now to hear about this important piece of work. I couldn't be happier to see this. And it does speak volumes to the level of interest and level of commitment that there is for us to collectively do better. It also speaks to the value and the importance you all place on ensuring Aboriginal children have the best experience they can in their early years journey. We all know how important that first 2000 days is and that we all play an important role in that. The department is fully behind this work. We're fully committed to supporting the team that have been introduced to you and the team into the future that's likely needed to grow to provide justice to the work and as we move through the next phases. But the other point I think is worth making is, not only are we committed to ensuring Cultural Safety of every Aboriginal child and their families as they access early childhood services in NSW, but we're also focused on uplifting every child's knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal culture and the value that it brings to our society. So, I think about my own time and my own journey. I think it wasn't until my mid-20s that I started to get real education around Australian history, knowledge and richness of culture. And I feel like we have an opportunity to intervene and progress as a society much differently today. The other thing that gives me great energy at the moment, off the back of Reconciliation Week that's just occurred, the theme around being a voice for our generations. It resonates really strongly for all of us, doesn't it? Because we have the privileged position to provide a direct and tangible impact on our early learners who will be the next generation. And I feel like there's such a responsibility there that goes with that. And that theme has been a good reflective piece for me to think about before today's session. And the other little thing that's given me some real energy is this week I've spent a couple of days in Melbourne, looking at some new preschool builds and just looking at some buildings and some different designs, which has been really good. But one of them we had a look at was an integrated preschool with a primary school brand new built in North Melbourne, which is under Wurundjeri Country of the Kulin Nation and the asset that they've built, yes, it's a Rolls-Royce and they've spent a hell of a lot of money and we can't do that everywhere. But what they did was spoke about how at the concept design, the architects engaged with Uncle and Aunts of Wurundjeri people. And the theme of the whole building speaks to culture and it is a building that has the preschool on the top floor and there's this concept through the five levels of the sky at the top, then through the canopy, the understory and then the earth. And for those that have some knowledge of Wurundjeri people, Bunjil is their creator and he's a wedge tail eagle and the design on the top of the centre and the playground and the shade represents like the nest, Bunjil nest. And there's the theme right through down to the heart of the building down below. That's their open space and that's in a blue colour and it's quite visual and that speaks to the egg, Bunjil's egg around his nest. And just that concept of not only is there opportunity around experience and practise, but just acknowledging there's many opportunities in the built environment and what we build to do better. And we know we don't all have the opportunity to build five level schools integrated with preschools, but it was just a sign of what's possible. And it was exciting for me to reflect on. And the other piece around service delivery was the preschool was really committed, around Cultural experience for their children, more so than the school. And what they've been demonstrating is when they have grade six's come in and spend time with the kids to do reading or some other thing, they actually bring a Cultural element into that activity and that the preschool there is supporting uplift around cultural awareness and Cultural growth through the whole school. So it's that sense of, in that context that they can be leading Cultural growth and Cultural understanding through a broader aspect and leading from the bottom up. And it's just really energising to experience that and see what's possible, where there's genuine commitment with relationship and respect. Let me reassure you in closing that this isn't about, necessarily applying additional administrative work for services, however, it's worth noting that if you want to improve or do better, there does need to be some investment, whether that's in time or approach. So, we feel that there are many services out there ready to take the next step on their journey from where they're up to. And we'll not see that as an ask, but as an opportunity to do better and one we all have a responsibility to undertake. The framework's currently being developed. We're not yet ready to share with you the draught as Stacy alluded to and you'll hear further we're in co-design and you might go, "Oh, that's been a hell of a long time." I think that's a good thing. We're really committed to doing business differently and that's about listening more and taking the time to consult with community and get the right outcome. So, I'm quite comfortable that it might be going a bit slower than you anticipate, but it's for the right reasons. I'm really pleased to have this opportunity today to promote phase one, which the team will talk about. The findings will inform the next phase around co-design and identify their priorities for the department to increase Cultural Safety for Aboriginal children and families. The report is publicly available. For me as the executive sponsor, the report highlighted a level of optimism but also some concern around Cultural Safety for all Aboriginal children in all places. That didn't necessarily come as a great surprise. It just demonstrates that there's a lot more to be done around uplift and we need the framework to speak to all services around where they're at and where they think the next steps are and how we can be supportive around growth and work together with Community and with children to do better. The consultation report has been accepted by Aboriginal communities we consulted with, because it primarily captures the voices of children, Aboriginal children and their families and those working in the sector. The findings have been used as a foundation to build the framework as a credible source of evidence, which we can then demonstrate a new way of government working with Aboriginal people, leading a process of change, essentially that's what we're trying to do. For those in the audience, leading in or operating Aboriginal services, the Cultural Safety Framework upholds the great work you already do, in some ways you are the places of excellence that we need to learn from and understand better. I commend you on your sustained commitments to safe and high quality services for all children, especially Aboriginal children across NSW. I invite you to listen and stay with us over the next hour. It is for everyone, whether you're a provider or a director, you all have a role to play around your leadership, your commitment and growth. Thank you very much. I hope you get something out of the next hour and can become allies to share this journey that we're all on. Thanks everyone. I'll now hand back to Stacy.

Stacey: Thank you Shane. And it's really nice to hear your ongoing commitment to taking the Cultural Safety journey's time, so that we can get this right, so that we can create something that is meaningful and does create change across the sector. The Cultural Safety Framework webinar one is available on the department's website. In webinar one, the Cultural Safety Team, discussed the phase one consultation journey and the subsequent phases of the framework to be developed. It's going to take some time to develop. That webinar also clearly identified the Cultural Safety Framework objectives. So, here is a quick recap of what the NSW Regulatory Authority are doing and what the NSW Regulatory Authority, would like to achieve. The Reg Authority is driving innovative work to create culturally safe environments for Aboriginal children and their families with the Cultural Safety Framework, being the first of its kind in the early childhood space in Australia. The Cultural Safety Framework aims to support, uplift, within the early childhood education and caresector by providing clear expectations, standards and guidance to support services to develop, maintain and improve cultural safety. The framework will encourage best provision and maintenance of culturally safe and responsive environments for Aboriginal children, their families and staff in every type of early childhood education and care service. It will increase the participation of Aboriginal children in all services types and it will also enhance understanding and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures which will benefit all children and support reconciliation efforts. The framework is part of the department's response to the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The framework is the only government initiative to be endorsed by the Coalition of Aboriginal Peaks and included in the NSW, Closing the Gap Implementation Plan, under socioeconomic three, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, are engaged in high quality, culturally appropriate early childhood education in their early years. And the inclusion of the Cultural Safety Framework, highlights that the framework is well supported by Aboriginal communities in NSW. And I think that that's great, that the NSW ECE sector, are the first jurisdiction to be leading this type of work. And this type of work is the work that Aboriginal Communities want. The framework is also in accordance with part one, section three of the schedule of the Education and Care Services National Law, which reinforces that Australia's, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are valued. And it's a guiding principle of the National Legislation and a lot of people aren't aware of that. It's there in the legislation as a guiding principle. The framework also compliments the Approved Learning Frameworks by strengthening cultural responsiveness, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and increasing all children's knowledge and understanding of First Nations people. The framework also supports and compliments the National Quality Standards. Also exciting that our audience must know is that discussions testing the jurisdictional appetite of the Cultural Safety Framework nationally is occurring with interest that the final product may be adopted nationally. Remember what you heard from Shane earlier, this will not create extra administrative work. You will be empowered with resources and a toolkit that will guide the way to uplifting cultural safety and cultural responsiveness. I'd now like to ask Ron Timbery to outline the Cultural Safety Framework journey and our progress to date. Ron, you're on mute.

Ron: There you go, yeah, sorry. On mute, always happens, doesn't it? Thank you Stacy. Yeah, hi everyone. I'm going to highlight some of the real milestones that we've experienced on the cultural safety journey so far. We've got a couple of slides that reflect this journey and some great slides with the representation or the symbolization of the snake in the middle and going along the journey. Unfortunately, I don't have time to go through all the milestones, but these slides will be available on our website, on our webpage as well. So, please take the time to view these slides when they become available. For the Cultural Safety Team, this journey started back in 2020 when the "Early Childhood, Education Aboriginal Roundtable Report" was delivered. The report outlined three significant things. It outlined the barriers that impacted Aboriginal children and families, that increased the likelihood of Aboriginal children, not participating in ECEC services. It identified what Aboriginal families look for in ECEC services and it identified potential solutions for services to effectively engage with and empower Aboriginal families. For me, one of the most significant statements or pieces to come out of the report was that, Aboriginal children and families want to feel a sense of belonging at their ECEC service. So that really stands out because in those early years, if you don't have that sense of belonging, well, there's already some sense of un-safety and that really stood and impacted upon me when I read it. 2020 also saw the creation of the department's, Early Childhood Aboriginal Advisory Group. This group was comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who were working in the sector and who had that lived experience of Aboriginal people, working in the sector. And they came together and they came up with an amazing vision. And that vision was that every Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander child, should feel safe and welcome when walking into any ECEC service in NSW. They had great foresight. I remember from the first webinar in July, 2022 that Nat Heath spoke passionately, about the Aboriginal Advisory Group and how strongly the members felt about this shared vision. Then moving on to 2021, this year saw the launch of the department's First Steps Strategy, our Aboriginal Children's, Early Childhood Education Strategy. The department realising it had to work differently if it were to improve outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families utilised a co-design approach with the department's, Early Childhood Aboriginal Advisory Group to design and develop the First Steps Strategy. In my mind, I can still hear Nat Heath saying to me, "Culture couldn't be one of the pillars of the First Step's Strategy. It had to be right across the strategy. It had to be the strategy's foundation." And so that to me is a direct link to the Cultural Safety Framework. Also, in 2021, the department created three Aboriginal identified positions in the Regulatory Authority, which says a lot, which says a lot about the department willing to change its ways and to work differently. And then in 2022, the Cultural Safety Team recruited those positions and Stacy was the first to be recruited. I was recruited back in June, 2022 and Toni joined us earlier this year. Again, in 2022, we held the first webinar and that webinar was to inform the sector about the consultations that SNAICC were going to do for us in the first stages of the project. The consultations that were undertaken with the early childhood sector, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and mainstream services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and children, and also other stakeholders in the sector. And in late 2022, SNAICC delivered the final report on the consultations to the department. That was in October, 2022. And that was a great achievement in itself, because it captured the voices that needed to be heard. And just reflecting back on that webinar last year and that's available for viewing on our webpage as well, I just want to just want to mention, about some of the speakers that spoke on that webinar. And two of the speakers that stood out to me was Marita Cavanaugh, who was a Director of an Aboriginal community-controlled, early childhood service. And she was asked the question about, well, what does a culturally safe service feel like and what does it look like? And that question had never been asked to Marita ever before. So, that was something to go back and reflect on and hear what Marita had to say about that. And we also had Tammy Anderson, who's done amazing work in the Cultural Safety area as well at Briar Road Public School. And she gave great insights into what she's done to enhance cultural safety in her school. And what she's done is really amazing. So, I think that that concludes sort of the recap. Please go back and have a look at these slides that have more detail and I think we might be going to Menti now are we? Yes, we are. There we go. Yeah, so we'd really like to hear from you now and this is an opportunity to provide some feedback to share your thoughts. So, please action the Menti now and by scanning the QR code, we'll go to and enter the number that's at the top of the screen there, 1145 6018 and fill out the form, the questions up on the screen. What could you do in your role to put cultural safety into practise? And please remember like this is a safe space. All ideas, all thoughts, all comments are welcome. There's no such thing as a silly answer or a silly question. This is a learning opportunity for us all. So, I'll just wait and hopefully yes, there's some great ideas coming up. Reach out to families, work with families and local communities. Include the voice of children, challenge racism, be open-minded, connect with families, understand team bias. In short, wow, I can't keep up with them all. This is fantastic. This is fantastic. Thank you everyone for these comments. Work with community, holding RAP meetings with families, having a cup of tea with Aboriginal families, inviting them into the service to have a yarn. I think input from families. This is amazing, I can't keep up with that. Look, thank you, thank you, thank you for all this input. This is amazing. This shows the commitment, this shows the energy that's in this space. And look on that point, I'm going to hand over to Toni, who's going to take you through the consultation findings and look, thanks everyone. That's truly amazing. Thank you.

Toni: Thanks Ron. If we go to the next slide. Thank you. As you heard from Stacy earlier, the consultation was conducted to confirm the evidence. Is there a problem and can we do better in the ECE sector? You all have access to the full report on our website and the link will be provided to today's participants. Please take your time and read it in full. Many government agencies, have consulted Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, seeking regionalised Cultural knowledge. It is recognised that governments consult and the communities rarely get to hear their knowledge has been heard. We knew as a Cultural Safety Team, we could not return to community with a 45 page report of the outcomes of the consultation. So, and the Regulatory Authority and the Cultural Safety Team want to work differently. So, we returned to Community with the information gifted through the consultations and acknowledged its vital part of our process. The Cultural Safety Team developed an engaging and interactive delivery style as you can see in the slide, as this is more of a First Nation's way of doing and provides a visual representation of the written Final Outcomes Report. So, we designed our tree. Our tree shows the future and the need for a Cultural Safety Framework. The roots go deep into the ground. The department's foundation, commitment and vision for the Cultural Safety Framework. The trunk is a structure needed for change. This reflects the importance of the ECE sector and service providers. The leaves. The leaves are all the ideas, growth and possibilities of what will come for our children, families and Community. Now, we all know that if a tree is cared for, it will grow, thrive and endure. We acknowledge based on the findings of the Outcomes Report, our tree is currently unhealthy. The tree foundations, the aims of the Cultural Safety work, have already been discussed in a previous slide. But we wanted to provide the sector the visual that we return to Community with. The key findings of today's webinar. Western ways there are ongoing concerns, about western confinements, culturally unsafe frameworks and a lack of understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history. The impact's access, support and service delivery on the ground. A quote from page 13 of the full report is, "Mainstream service operates predominantly from a western, a white western structure which creates barriers and in turn does not create cultural safety." Racism and discrimination. It was evident and occurring at a service and system level. This can compound the ongoing burden that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities experience. I understand for the sector this is difficult to hear, but this is still going on today. A comment on page 17 of the report, came from a participant stating, "The principal is racist and biassed, against alternate family structures." Relationships and trust. Building the relationship and trust between ECE services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, families and communities is of critical importance. Page 14 highlights the overwhelming majority of parents and carers thought ACCO's were leading with Cultural Safety, because of the cultural reciprocity and humility and positive meaningful relationships and regard for the Aboriginal child or children within their service. culturally safe, a number of culturally responsive and safe practises are being implemented across our sector. On the other hand, a direct quote from the report, "cultural blindness in many settings across the state, underpinned by perceived and actual white privilege, resulting in an inability to remove these biases and blindness." The final key finding, Awareness and acknowledgement will be discussed in the next slide. And it relates to the sector's response, during our consultations. In the outcomes report and consultations, the ECE sector demonstrated a true desire to contribute to cultural safety and a willingness to learn. These responses excite the Cultural Safety Team and it indicates a true desire for change. Awareness and acknowledgement is the final key finding. The sector wants to improve relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, children and communities. The sector wants to, include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander content and perspectives into teachings and learning programmes. The sector wants to build the cultural capability of its staff. The Cultural Safety Framework, will deliver these essentials to make these requests a reality across our sector. I will now hand back to Stacy.

Stacy: Thank you Toni for taking us through the consultation outcomes and the key findings. As I was reflecting on listening to Ron and yourself, I do want to highlight that the timeline shows that there has been pivotal and key moments and I'd like to acknowledge those Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people who've been committed and championed this work. And I'd like to acknowledge the responsibility that we all now have in continuing and maintaining this journey. We really do stand on the shoulders of giants and I really just want to enforce some of the key points from Toni just then, the NSW Regulatory Authority, we are working differently, we are making sure we're going back with these consultation outcomes, so that people understand how that relates to the next phase, phase two; co-design. So, I appreciate both of you for sharing those highlights. Thank you Ron, thank you Toni. Kowa Collaboration are a team specialising in First Nation's evaluation, facilitation, advocacy and change making in Australia. Kowa combined traditional ways of knowing, doing and being with decolonised methodologies to meaningfully change the narrative for First Nations peoples in impact measurement, evaluation and learning. Kowa is founded on sovereignty with First Nations communities and organisations and peoples have the right to articulate, drive and measure their own success. Kowa Collaboration or I'm excited to announce that Kowa Collaboration, have been contracted by the NSW Regulatory Authority to lead the next phase of the Cultural Safety Framework co-design. And we have Skye Trudgett, the Chief Executive Officer from Kowa here today. Welcome Skye.

Skye Trudgett: Thanks Stacy.

Stacy: Can I get you to introduce yourself? Do you want to tell our audience who you are and who's your mob? Where you from?

Skye: Thanks Stacy. Skye Trudgett, I'm a Gomeroi woman. I'm living and working on Awabakal Country. I am the CEO at Kowa, but privileged to work with many communities, individuals and team here that do great work and amplify the voice of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and community in impact measurement, evaluation, data sovereignty, place making, whole breadth of things that we do. But really it's about getting our voices up from the grassroots.

Stacy: Thank you Skye. Co-design is a word that we use quite frequently and we know traditionally that government, haven't done co-design well. What is co-design?

Skye: Yeah, it's a great question Stacy. And you're right. Like I think the term has been bastardised a fair bit by practises that really look like bringing community in at different points in time. But really what co-design is, it's about design that's led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. So, centring our voices, our beliefs, our ways of knowing, doing and being in designing a future that looks different for everyone. And so bringing in allies who can do this work, experts who are committed to change and creating change. And I think just seconding what you'd said before, about the people who have done this work beforehand, the phase one efforts that were led by SNAICC and your team, yourself, Toni and Ron for kind of chartering this all the way through, but then also the voices of individual people, families and community that are kind of like lifting up into this bit now, that is co-design, that's when we're seeing Aboriginal organisations and people in community who are actually leading the work and making those decisions. So, in this effort it's not co-design like one thing, it's actually co-design every phase of the work is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The in between is led by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The whole thing is really being pushed forward by us. So, it's us doing things for us, like we are making these decisions and we're bringing others along on the journey, but it's us leading the work, which is really impressive to see it done different. And you're right, yeah, it's had a couple of hiccups along the way and I think the term really puts people off, which I get and I understand, but it's nice to be involved in something this time that really is genuine to co-design practise.

Stacy: Absolutely Skye. And I think you just then referring about to that momentum that Yas was referring to earlier in the webinar. There is a momentum out there at the moment and there is a shift and a change and government are now looking to work differently and understand and committed to Aboriginal children and listening. And I think this programme, the Cultural Safety Framework, for it to be in that NSW Closing the Gap Implementation Plan and it to be prioritised by Aboriginal communities, shows that as a Regulatory Authority, we have huge responsibility now to get this co-design right, like you've just said. And it's exciting times. So, we're not just doing any type of co-design, we specifically looked at the Auckland Co-design Lab for the development of the Cultural Safety Framework. Can you tell me a little bit about the methodology?

Sky: Yeah, so Penny and Angie and the team at Auckland Co-Design Lab, have done some incredible work over in New Zealand really, kind of leading the way in terms of designing with government and with Community and putting Community front and centre in what change looks like. And so it's a real system focus change and I could see some of the comments that were coming up and the questions that were coming up before about, who's involved and what breadths does this actually go to and some of the barriers that are getting in the way. And we know that it's not actually, just about what happens in services like, within the gate and that confines, it's actually about a whole system change that needs to happen. And so the Auckland methodology is about identifying who's in the system, what the whole system looks like and identifying those levers for change that need to be activated to really turn things around? So, it's great to see like additional things to think about here, all the thoughts that we're going into your Menti piece there as well about making sure that those things are included in this framework too, so that also is co-design, about getting lots of thoughts and lots of opinions that come in and that's what they've really led at the Auckland Co-design Lab. They've got great resources online and that were things that you guys as a team, really researched and got in behind. We've been fortunate enough that Kowa members have been able to go through and do their training and really understand their approach to doing things and use some of their resources to help this work as well.

Stacy: That's exactly right. And I just want to reinforce that point. It is moving government away from you know that oh yep, we'll do it for and it's about now doing with, those sector representatives. So, Kowa recently, very recently facilitated a co-design process face-to-face and online sessions. Can you tell us a bit about who was involved and what was completed?

Skye: Yeah, so I think it's important to note that I guess and we kind of touched on it before, we're facilitating processes, within a broader co-design process. So again, it's like you guys are still chartering this through behind the scenes, the work that SNAICC had done in phase one, the Communities and people who input into that phase. So, we're just kind of facilitating this next piece of work in the same kind of spirit and fashion of co-design that has been critical from the very beginning. So, I mean we recently had a three day face-to-face session with a whole heap of experts and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people who are able to really put their thinking hats on and contribute their hearts and their experiences into what this framework needs to look like, what it needs to include, all the shifts that need to happen across the system. We were privileged enough to have 17 people participate in that first series of face-to-face co-design. And from that we've then gone on to have a following two days of online sessions that have gone kind of closing those feedback loops around, okay, here's the first iteration of the work, here's the next iteration. And so we're just kind of following those ongoing loops of iteration and closing those until we get to a piece that then finalised for further thinking and further design from other people who weren't included in that group of 17.

Stacy: Thank you. And you know that 17 representatives, were sector stake stakeholders, we had representatives from afterschool care, we had representatives from preschool, long day care, big providers, small providers, regional NSW, metropolitan NSW. And the conversation was heavy. And you know what I took away from that co-design process and I know we're still in it, we're very much we're still in the process, was again that there is this big buzz from non-Aboriginal people to want to do better and be better and the willingness to listen and to support these efforts that are going forward. So, Skye, there are photos from the co-design workshop, which I believe TJ will pop up for me now and they really depict a successful utilisation of the Auckland Co-design Lab methodology and what it's all about. The group drew on lived experiences within the ECE sector and they placed Aboriginal children and families at the centre. And then you are in the background at the moment drafting this up, the Cultural Safety Framework. The group respectfully presented different points of view and collaborated to draw out these really important themes that could be used as a bit of a basis for the Cultural Safety Framework. And it was a very exhausting process, but one that has been really worthwhile and I have learned a lot and been challenged throughout the process. So, are you able to share one thing that you heard or that you'd learned or you found interesting, about the work to carried out so far that you think the sector might be interested in hearing?

Skye: Yeah, look, I've got a couple points to take home and you're right Stacy, this was really moving. I can't express enough how much everyone put their heart and soul into that three days. And so for us, we sit with this deep commitment now to make sure that that is chartered all the way through the development of this framework. I think the thing that I really heard and it's stuck with me and sorry if I get emotional, 'cause it's still really raw, is there's things that have been happening for years and years and years and they're still happening. Toni spoke about that and what came out in phase one, they're still happening. I'm a Mum, I'm an Auntie, I'm a Sister, like I want to see change for my kids, for my family, but also for all these other kids who are still going through the really painful experiences that have been experienced by others in the past, 10, 20, 30 years ago. They're still raw, they're still there. And what that causes for people is it just shouldn't exist. It shouldn't be there. There's such a huge impact that you can have on someone's life by making meaningful change towards Cultural Safety, right now that we would be able to last with them, throughout the rest of their lives. So, this is like critically important. We know that it's critically important, but to really see and feel those experiences in that room, it hasn't left me at all. I think the other thing that was clear and I did touch on it, was this isn't just about service providers, this is bigger, this is about centring Aboriginal children and families and Community across the entire system. So, it's about yes, service providers, it is about organisations and agencies that are commissioning programmes and pieces of work. It is about our afterschool providers, it's about within government, it's about philanthropy who are funding this type of work. It's actually about everyone who has a role and a responsibility to push towards Cultural Safety, being recognised and being determined by Aboriginal children, communities and family at the centre. So, that hasn't left me at all. And I think they were all things that we knew, but to hear that really clearly from leaders in the room was critically important. We know that if we can change this, if we can change this experience of safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids, we will change the experience for every single child and we can't lose sight of it all. So, it's great to hear, the commitment that that's coming from government to keep pushing through and doing this work and not rushing towards just an output but to really build the voices of people within this. I can just see that there's a question, about explaining what things and I'm not sure what I said about the things that we need to be doing, I assume is that what I, no, I can't answer. But in terms of the things, the things that need to be done is what we're trying to unpack in the framework itself. So, we don't just want to say, "Hey, there's things you should do." A lot of the kind of examples that were provided in your Menti, but also some of the really critical examples that were provided by people in that room was about the actions that can be taken, the approaches for engagement that can be made, the changes around resourcing, protocol changes, I saw on here before about workforce development, about changing other areas of the system that allow staff and workforce to increase in this space. So, it's really big thinking in that way about, hold on, we can't just try and put things in one place, actually we need to think about the whole system and how this interacts across not just education but across family sectors, across health sectors, across our justice system. It is a really broad sweeping consideration that needs to be made and they were the thoughts that were being held by people in the room on that day was what are the levers, how do we pull the levers, but also how does this interact, across other sectors as well? So, I mean it's huge work.

Stacy: It's important, and it's important work. And just for our audience now, we're on a journey as Shane said, and we're going to take the time and we're going to, this is one part in the co-design process. So, Skye I 100% appreciate your time today. I would like just to let the sector know to go back to the website, all updates on this process and future phases and future directions will always be updated to the website. So, please continually refer back to that website. Again Skye thank you so much for your time today and we know that Kowa are known nationally for their innovation, their ways of working differently and the way that they have transformed government and the NSW Regulatory Authority, are really enjoying partnering with you on this innovative, ground-breaking work. So, thank you for your time today Skye.

Skye: Thanks.

Stacy: And now I'd like to hand over, or hand back over to Yas to do some final remarks.

Yasmina: Thanks Stacy, and thanks so much to Kowa and Skye. Those were some great insights and reflections and really important information. Now, I'm sure that many of you have so many questions, thoughts and ideas. Having heard all of that and that you're keen to learn about the next steps and the road ahead. You are an important part of this journey as you heard, this work will be shaped around your roles, your environment and it continues to respond to what we heard from the sector in phase one. So, as we move through this development phase for the Framework, each step of the journey, we will involve you. We will come back and tell you about how it's progressing. This is real collaboration in practise. And so remember as we said earlier, regardless of the service type, family day care, outside school hours care, preschool, long day care, this framework will have practical tools and guidance to support and guide your Cultural Safety journey. So broadly, as we look forward, we are going to share knowledge and understanding, about cultural safety and we're going to look to great examples of where it is already in place. As you heard Ron mention and Toni, we're going to engage experts to help create that toolkit that we've mentioned, the resources that will help you along a journey. I just want to reflect on Stacy's comments that upholding the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's cultures is actually contained in our National Law. However, we know it's very broad. It doesn't really tell us how we can demonstrate this concept of value in a practical sense. So, this framework will provide you that guidance and practical support and it will provide that for all of us in a practical and genuine sense, so that we can show how we value, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people's cultures. Relationships are paramount. As we all know, to build relationships that we really value takes time and commitment. We need to be self-reflective, really listen to one another and demonstrate learning and goodwill. We'll continue to provide you regular updates. Please remember that you can look up the progress of the development of the Cultural Safety Framework on our webpage. And I understand the link has been dropped into the chat here. We also make a commitment to come back to you, once we have this framework draught in place. And as we start to work on the toolkit and resources, your perspectives and feedback is so, so critical to this. Don't forget to complete the survey for the webinar and thank you so much for attending and setting aside your valuable time to hear about this ground-breaking work. Thank you so much to the team. Thank you Shane for making yourself available for this. And thank you of course to Kowa and all of the participants here. Have a great day everyone. Yaluu.

Phase 2: Co-design of the framework

The results of the phase 1 consultations provided valuable data and insights into the sector’s overall understanding of cultural safety.

Between March and June 2023, the Cultural Safety Team organised and enabled a co-design process to be facilitated by Kowa Collaboration, and for a co-design working group to deliver the draft Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care.

During this time, the following project tasks were actioned and completed by the Cultural Safety Team:

  • forming a co-design working group, made up of sector and department representatives with lived experiences in the NSW ECEC sector, who are recognised experts in their occupations

  • engaging Kowa Collaboration to facilitate and implement the co-design process, and to summarise and collate the input and contributions of all co-design working group members into a framework document

  • conducting a 3-day face-to-face workshop for the co-design working group to follow a co-design methodology and create the first iteration of the cultural safety framework, under the guidance and facilitation of Kowa Collaboration

  • conducting online workshops, following the face-to-face workshop, for co-design working group members to review and workshop the first iteration of the cultural safety framework and to provide further feedback and comments to the department

  • conducting further opportunities for members of the co-design working group to provide more input and refine the document.

The cultural safety framework co-design process proved to be both rigorous and enlightening. The co-design working group was able to elevate the cultural safety of Aboriginal children, families and communities, and ensure they remained at the centre of all discussions and perspectives.

In June 2023, Kowa Collaboration delivered the first component of the Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care to the department, a draft reflective tool.

The reflective tool is designed to be a starting point for ECEC providers and services to build their understanding of culturally safe practices and reflect on where they’re at on their own journey. Further refinement of the reflective tool is being undertaken by the co-design working group, and the department expects to start sharing the final version of the tool with the ECEC sector in the latter stages of 2023.

All elements of the framework, including the reflective tool, will be endorsed by the co-design working group and the governance team before sharing with ECEC providers and services for interim testing and feedback. This is important step in maintaining the integrity of the co-design methodology.

During the next stages of the project, we will engage with the broader ECEC sector to build understanding of cultural safe practices and guidance on using the reflective tool. We will continue to assess the ongoing needs of the sector to further develop the framework and provide support.

Project history and timeline

The Cultural Safety Team has developed a project timeline that depicts the major milestones of the cultural safety framework journey.

Please note, the timeline is subject to change. This is due to the need for flexibility and fluidity in managing the project, in recognition of different ways that the government is working with Aboriginal people and communities.

The history and timeline of the project is presented in the Aboriginal Cultural Safety Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care journey map (PDF 110 KB).

Further information

The Cultural Safety Team will continue to hold periodic webinar information sessions and provide updates to keep the ECEC sector informed about the progress of the project. For updates on the cultural safety framework, please ensure that you save this page to your favourites and check it periodically. We will also keep you informed of our progress via the ECEC update newsletter and NSW Early Childhood Education Facebook page.

If you have any questions, please email us at or contact the Information and Enquiries team on 1800 619 113.


  • Early childhood education


  • Frameworks and standards
  • Inclusive practice

Business Unit:

  • NSW ECEC Regulatory Authority
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