2015-2018 Reconciliation Action Plan
Council proudly endorsed its draft 2015-2018 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) at the September 2015 ordinary meeting. This document is now in the final stages of production and will be available in hard copy and on the website in the coming months.
Council supporting reconciliation
The Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program was launched by Reconciliation Australia in July 2006 as a forward-looking aspect of the 40th anniversary of the 1967 referendum, the most successful in Australia's history, in which more than 90% of voters said "YES" to equality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander fellow citizens.
On Monday 30 May 2011, Cairns Regional Council formally signed the 'Statement of Commitment' to have our RAP complete and ready for endorsement by Council in December 2011. This was goal was achieved with the RAP adopted by Council on the 14 December, 2011.
Currently there are only a small number of Councils in Australia that have completed RAPs. Council is proud to be the first local government in Queensland to have a RAP endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.
Council has had a long-term commitment to reconciliation and has chosen to use the Reconciliation Australia RAP program to focus and formalise our commitment into a RAP template. We see the benefit of demonstrating leadership in reconciliation in our region and the opportunities that come from being part of a growing RAP community.
What is a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)?
Significant numbers of corporate, government and non-government organisations have RAPs in nearly every town and city. Most communities have a local branch of one (or more) of the big four banks, a post office, one of Wesfarmers' retail outlets or a Telstra operations centre. Some have a Mission
Australia or Life Without Barriers office. As more and more councils and various organisations and businesses develop RAPs, the potential to collaborate with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and service providers will be realised. All it takes is local
The RAP program turns "good intentions into action" by encouraging and supporting organisations, large and small, to engage within their sphere of influence in the national effort to close the 17-year gap in life expectancy between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their fellow Australians.
- A RAP is a tool to help Council strengthen and build positive relationships between Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous people within and outside the organisation.
- A RAP provides Council with a framework/format for exploring how reconciliation can advance our business / organisational objectives – e.g. Corporate Plan, Community Plan.
- Council's RAP is our public contribution towards the national effort by all levels of government and the private sector to close the 17-year life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous children – through initiatives such as Council's Indigenous Employment Strategy.
- A RAP formalises Council's contribution by encouraging us to identify clear actions and realistic targets, as well as lessons learnt.
RAP Development Process
Council formed a working group driving the development of the RAP. The Group was made up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and external representatives, as well as non-Indigenous senior management.
The Draft RAP was developed in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from the local government area, including members of Council's Indigenous Advisory Committee. Council Management and staff also provided input and commitment to the projects and initiatives detailed in our RAP.
Reconciliation Australia also provided comment and reviewed the Draft RAP before providing their final endorsement.
All RAPs include a commitment to publicly report and refresh annually. Council will report each year to Reconciliation Australia on the progress of the RAP. A RAP Working Group will monitor progress and assist in the implementation of projects and initiatives, and RAP reports will be published
and made available to the wider community.
Tracking and reporting progress ensures Council and the community recognise where achievements have been made, where challenges remain and what opportunities exist for future RAP development and implementation. Council looks forward to sharing learning across the Australian community and to understanding the collective impact of RAPs on the life expectancy gap.