Last Tuesday evening, in the glorious surrounds of Mooro Katta or Kaarta Gar-up (two of the many Noongar names for Mount Eliza, the highest point of Kings Park) a special event took place.
Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Western Australians, representing a wide range of sectors, came together to celebrate the exciting reconciliation achievements and initiatives that are happening in WA at the moment.
One of these initiatives – the launch of Reconciliation WA through generous support from Lotterywest for 3 years – was particularly exciting for me, as a member of the advisory group that provided input to the application for funding.
“The Reconciliation space has increased substantially in Western Australia over the past 5 years. WA has approximately 90 organisations with Reconciliation Action Plans amid a list of 400 RAP Organisations nationally, endorsed by Reconciliation Australia. Reconciliation WA began as an idea over two years ago and recently established as a dedicated state based organisation funded for three years by Lotterywest and housed at the West Australian Council of Social Services (WACOSS).
Reconciliation WA will function as a Secretariat and make a significant contribution to closing the gap in relation to Aboriginal health, education and employment outcomes in WA. The Secretariat will work together with the WA Community and Organisations to promote and encourage reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. Over the three years, its key elements are the development of trust, understanding,respect and opportunities between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people and the active involvement of government, business and community organisations in reconciliation activities.
We strive to create a West Australian community that has a broad understanding and acknowledgement of a whole range of issues, not just about Aboriginal culture but also around history post colonisation. Our vision is for a state where the special place,culture, rights and contribution of Aboriginal peoples are valued and respected.”
Congratulations and a huge thank you to the people who have been driving and championing these important initiatives!
1. Phillip Walley-Stack and dancers giving a wonderful Welcome to Country and performance.
2. Co-Chairs of the Board of Reconciliation WA – Mary Cowley and Alan Carter – speaking about its launch.
3. Fred Chaney delivering an inspiring speech, with dynamic MC for the evening Gningala Yarran-Mark (from SKM) and RWA Executive Officer James Back looking on.
4. Kimberley Benjamin, RECOGNISE Youth Ambassador, showing us that the future is in good hands.