News • 12 Jun 2024

Open Minds celebrates launch of Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan

During National Reconciliation Week, Open Minds proudly launched its Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for 2024 – 2025.

This milestone is the result of dedicated efforts by Group CEO, Jo Jessop, the RAP Working Group, and numerous community members and stakeholders, including those from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities who provided essential leadership and guidance.

The launch event, attended by Open Minds team members, clients, and community members, was a celebration of cultural heritage and unity.

Highlights included a Welcome to Country by John and Tim, of Tribal Experiences performers who captivated the audience with their singing, dancing, and didgeridoo playing.

National Reconciliation Week, with this year’s theme “Now More Than Ever” focuses on strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-First Nations Australians.

It serves as a reminder that healing begins with acknowledging the past and encourages us to forge a new path forward together.

Group CEO, Jo Jessop said we all have a role to play in reconciliation.

“By launching our first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan, endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, we are laying the foundation for meaningful change,” said Jo.

“This RAP reflects our core values of respect and empathy and will guide us in building stronger relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders.”

“As leaders in disability support and mental health services, we recognise that diversity and inclusion are crucial for fostering innovation and enriching service quality. Our Reflect RAP outlines a roadmap for developing relationships and ensuring sustainable reconciliation efforts.”

RAP Executive Lead Karen Hale-Robertson said the development of the Reflect RAP was a collaborative effort.

“The plan is deeply rooted in the wisdom and guidance of First Nations peoples and the RAP Working Group. The group, formed in late 2022, comprises 16 members, half of whom identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples,” said Karen.

“Through monthly Working Group meetings, we have crafted a meaningful Reconciliation Action Plan that demonstrates our commitment to strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

“The RAP provides a practical roadmap with clear and measurable actions, fostering cultural awareness, creating opportunities for First Nations employment and education, and supporting First Nations-owned businesses and communities.”

The Reflect RAP will guide all staff in building trust and rapport with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

It ensures the organisation will meet its ethical obligations and align with principles of corporate social responsibility.

Most importantly, by understanding the needs and cultural contexts of First Nations peoples, the organisation can improve the effectiveness and appropriateness of its services.

“This is just the beginning of our reconciliation journey,” Karen said.

“The Working Group will continue to oversee and evaluate the effectiveness of the Reflect RAP. We are proud of our progress, which began with capturing a vision for reconciliation that recognises and respects the rich history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

To visually represent this vision, First Nations artist Leah Cummins of Bunya Designs was engaged.

Her artwork, now displayed in the offices and on staff shirts, symbolises a commitment to supporting the communities the organisation serves. We thank Director Ed Phelan for facilitating the printing of these artworks.

Thank you for joining us on this reconciliation journey.

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