It’s important to have signposts during the year to reflect on how far we have come as a society, and as an education system, and how much further we need to travel.
This is especially so in NAIDOC Week as we celebrate the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
We have more than 50,000 Aboriginal students and staff in our schools and corporate offices and work in partnership with Aboriginal families in the communities we serve.
NAIDOC Week 2019 takes as its theme ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth: Let’s work together for a shared future’, the key elements of the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart that represent the unified position of First Nations Australians.
We are proud in the department to have our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in place for corporate staff to show our commitment to an inclusive workplace and to celebrate the rich, diverse and resilient cultures of our country.
We have adopted the Reflect model from Reconciliation Australia. Our first RAP lays the foundations in our department for reconciliation initiatives in successive plans, and describes the structures we will put in place to strengthen our relationships with Aboriginal stakeholders, raise awareness and build a strong commitment to reconciliation across the corporate areas of the department.
We have a longstanding association with the NSW Aboriginal Education and Consultative Group Inc. (NSW AECG Inc.) through our Partnership Agreement ‘Together We Are; Together We Can; Together We Will’. We value the vision and commitment that jointly binds us and the strength of the NSW AECG through its community base.
This year NAIDOC Week coincides with the United Nations International Year of Indigenous Languages, which is another opportunity for the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to be heard.
During NAIDOC Week our website and social media channels will bring you stories, films and podcasts that amplify the voices of Aboriginal students, staff and Elders.
In our Parramatta office we have a number of events planned including a NAIDOC Forum with guest speakers and local, guided cultural walks.
The history of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, families and colleagues is the history of all Australians and I encourage all members of the department and the wider community to take the time to reflect on our journey towards Reconciliation.