Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-2018

Download a PDF version of our RAP

Our vision for reconciliation

The ACT Human Rights Commission has a vision of an ACT community (including Canberra and the Jervis Bay Territory) where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ rights are recognised, respected and promoted, and equality in employment, education, health, access to services and life expectancy is fully realised.

Reconciliation is important to the ACT Human Rights Commission (the Commission) because

  • we should show the importance of respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • it will help us think about how our service is relevant for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • we want to build the cultural diversity of our organisation;
  • it helps us build partnerships with the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations; and
  • it helps us to work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to help them promote their human rights.

Our Business

The Commission is an independent statutory agency established by the Human Rights Commission Act 2005 (the HRC Act).  The roles and functions of the Commission are to undertake the following in relation to the Australian Capital Territory:

  • promote public awareness and education about human rights;
  • promote improvements in disability services, health services, services for children and young people, and services for older people;
  • consider discrimination complaints and complaints about disability services, health services, services for children and young people, services for care givers; and services for older people;
  •  monitor and report on human rights compliance and undertake audits of government services; and
  • monitor policy and legislative development to protect and promote rights and improve access to and quality of services.

These responsibilities are carried out by Commission staff and three Commissioners holding the following positions: the Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner, the Health Services Commissioner, the Disability and Community Services Commissioner, and the Children and Young People Commissioner.  The Commission has a combined staff of approximately 20 people, including three Commissioners. This includes one Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intern.

Generally each year the Commission has had at least one Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander intern or trainee, and has from time to time employed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan

The Commission promotes reconciliation as part of its core work of improving access to and the quality of services, as well as protecting and promoting the human rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Consistent with our statutory obligations, and the values of the organisation, we developed our first RAP in 2011. This is the Commission’s third RAP.

All three Commissioners champion the RAP internally, supported by an internal working group with representation from each jurisdictional area of the organisation. As at 1 September 2015, this committee comprised:

  • Sean Costello (Human Rights and Discrimination Team), Chair
  • Jane Thomson (Disability Services Team)
  • Gabrielle McKinnon (Children and Young People Team)
  • Diana Knight (Health Services Team)
  • Stefanie Schweiger (Central Intake team)
  • Asha Alwast

We would like to thank the following people who made our RAP  possible through their generous assistance and feedback; Traci Harris (Women’s Legal Centre, Manager Indigenous Women’s Justice Project), Kim Davison (Executive Director, Gugan Gulwan), Brendan Church, (Executive Director, Aboriginal Justice Centre); Ms Joyce Graham (Manager, The Canberra Hospital’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Liaison Service); Violet Sheridan (Ngunnawal elder), Oliver Kickett (ACT Justice and Community Safety Directorate) and Tracey Whetnall (Official Visitor).

The Commission extends its sincere appreciation and respect to you for sharing your insights and wisdom.

Our RAP journey has taught us so much about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, and the rich contribution Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make to our community. However, we have also learnt more about the inherent disadvantage this community faces, despite the perceived overall wealth of our community. This knowledge informs our work and assists us to prioritise actions consistent with our statutory mandate and values.

Over the journey of our RAPs, we have met wonderful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander interns and trainees, who enriched our workplace and gone on to successful careers. For example, one trainee who stayed on as an employee a prolonged period now has permanent employment in ACT Government developing workplace policy.

The RAP has also made long term changes to the way the Commission undertakes its functions. A local Aboriginal caterer is our preferred provider, and we advertise all long term employment vacancies and upcoming events on the local Indigenous email network. Welcomes to Country are a standard at our public events and we regularly have an exhibitor’s stall at NAIDOC celebrations. Staff also routinely attend local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander events and have formed strong working relationships with a number of key organisations and stakeholders.

At the time of finalising this RAP, the ACT Government had released a Discussion Paper which included proposals to change the structure of the Commission. As such, while this document is intended to be 3 years in duration, the Commission will revisit its actions in 12 months if significant changes to the organisation’s structure eventuate.

Relationships

The Commission values relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as these enable us to improve our understanding of cultural and institutional discrimination and empower us to build better ways of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on how we can confront these issues together in order to promote and protect human rights.

Focus area: To be responsive and pro-active in further building positive relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Action Responsibility Timeline Measurable Target
1. RAP working committee oversees launch and implementation of the RAP Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner Launched By 1 December 2015
  • Launch of RAP.
  • RAP Committee meets every six weeks and provides reports on progress to Commissioners and staff meeting.
  • HRC report quarterly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders

 

 2. Continue to build employee’s capacity to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the ACT   RAP Committee andHuman Rights & Discrimination Commissioner  December 2015 then 1 July 20161 July 20171 July 2018  

  • Review the ACT Indigenous Engagement Toolkit annually
  • Provide annual training to staff on the toolkit, by July each year.

 

3. Improve access and quality of complaint handling services to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to seek protection of their rights to ensure the Commission is discharging its statutory functions in a culturally appropriate way. All Commissioners Review educative material by:1 April 20161 April 20171 April 2018

Measure outreach clinic numbers, satisfaction, complaint and conciliation numbers by:

1 September 2016

1 September 2017

1 September 2018

  • Review printed, online and other educative material to ensure it is culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients
  •  Continue to include an option for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients to identify
  • Continue to implement a complaint feedback process to measure the satisfaction of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants.
  • Measure the number of conciliations conducted and compare with previous measurement of conciliations. This will include assessing, year on year, the number of successful conciliations completed involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • Measure the number of complaints taken face to face at external organisations or other safe places and compare improvements and/or learnings from previous measurement.
  • Provide 4 outreach clinics per year at locations external to the Commission providing information about our role and provide opportunity to take complaints.
  • Collect feedback on relevance of information provided to the community and external services.

 

4. Ensure, maximum participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in all Commission forums, trainings, functions and, where appropriate, projects and audits. Community Engagement Officer or equivalent  Assess numbers by1 September 20161 September 20171 September 2018  

  • Use Indigenous Engagement Toolkit in all Commission projects and event planning.
  • Continue to monitor the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples participating in commission forums, trainings, functions, projects and audits

 

5. Form partnerships to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT to inform our priorities, and gain greater insight into issues faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples living in the ACT  Health Team: Principal Review OfficerHR/Discrim Team: Senior HR Law Policy Adviser

Disability Team: Senior Disability Adviser

 

CYP Team: Children and Young People Advsier

Assess connections by 1 July 2016 July 20171 July 2018Complete 1 piece of joint work each year, by:31 December 201631 December 2017

31 December 2018

 

Complete online portal by 31 December 2015

 

 

  • Connect with at least three key organisations annually.
  • Conduct joint work to explore concerns raised by community around:
    • Employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT public service
    • Government’s substantive response or implementation of key Reports including the ‘We Don’t Shoot Our Wounded’ (2009) and Legislative Assembly Committee Inquiries into Public Sector Employment (2014) and Sentencing (2015)
  • Interaction between Children Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
  • Contribute to joint projects through development of new educative tools, for example an online portal for information on rights.
6. Celebrate National Reconciliation Week by providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and other employees to build relationships. All Commissioners  27 May – 3 June annually
  • The Commission will hold one internal event each year to celebrate NRW
  • All staff are encouraged to participate in at least one external event during National Reconciliation Week.
Raise external awareness of our RAP to promote reconciliation across our sector Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner Strategy finalised by 1 July 2016Promotion of RAP to stakeholders assessed by 31 December 201631 December 2017

31 December 2018

  • Develop and Implement and review a strategy to communicate our RAP to all external stakeholders
  • Encourage all of our stakeholders to develop a RAP
  • Promote reconciliation through ongoing active engagement with all stakeholders

Respect

Respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and histories are important in every aspect of the Commission’s work as a better understanding and appreciation of values and culture supports mutual respect and improves working relationships.
Focus area: To professionally and publicly demonstrate and promote respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Action Responsibility Timeline Measurable Target
 1.The Commission observes Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country protocols at significant events and meetings to ensure there is shared meaning behind the protocols Community Engagement Officer or equivalent Assessed at:1 September 20161 September 20171 September 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plaque in place by 31 December 2015

  • Promote protocols for Acknowledgment of Country and Welcome to Country to all staff
  • Commission staff observe protocols at meetings and events.
  • Invite a local Traditional Owner to provide a Welcome to Country, at 3 public events with attendance of more than 30 people, such as International Human Rights Day, International Day of People with Disability, anniversary of UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
  • All staff and Senior Leadership to provide an Acknowledgement of Country at all public events
  • Provide the ACT Government list of key contacts for organising a Welcome to Country on intranet
  • Include Acknowledgement of Country at the commencement of important internal meetings such as staff meetings
  • Create and display an Acknowledgment of Country plaque in our office/on our office building

 

2. Celebrate and commemorate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples cultures and achievements, including NAIDOC Week to help the ACT community learn, understand and participate in respectful practices  Community Engagement Officer or equivalent Participation and support for NAIDOC week event to occur by 1 August 2016, 1 August 2017, 1 August 2018Contact NAIDOC Committee by 31 May 2016, 31 May 2016, 31 May 2018

1 public event assessed by 31 December 2015, 31 December 2016, 31 December 2017, 31 December 2018

 

Speaker invited by 31 December 2015, 31 December 2016, 31 December 2017, 31 December 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • The Commission staff will participate in three national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander celebration activities each year, including at least one NAIDOC Week event
  • Support an external NAIDOC Week community event
  • Support National and/or local NAIDOC Week Committee
  • Senior staff acknowledge NAIDOC Week and its importance.
  • The Commission will host at least one public event each year to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and rights to the ACT community.
  • At least one Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander guest speaker will be invited to address the Commission each year.
  • Review HR policies and procedures to ensure there are no barriers to staff participating in NAIDOC.
  • Provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to participate in local NAIDOC Week events.
3. Incorporate specific discussions relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples into ACT HRC’s communications activities to raise awareness amongst staff and the broader ACT community. Human Rights and Discrimination CommissionHealth Services Commission

Disability and Community Services Commissioners

 

Children and Young People Commissioner

 Assessed by 30 September 201630 September 2017

30 September 2018

 

  • Include acknowledgement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in speeches, publications and submissions
  • Include information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in speeches, publications and submissions
  • At least two public speeches from the Commission each year include issues of specific relevance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
4. Implement Commission wide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural learning program to ensure all staff are culturally aware and competent. Children and Young People Commissioner 30 June 2016, 30 June 2017, 30 June 2018Social media promotion of events assessed by 30 September 2016, 30 September 2017, 30 September 2018

Cultural Awareness Training strategy finalised and implemented by 31 December 2015

  • All permanent staff, and those who are on temporary contracts of greater than 6 months to have completed cultural awareness training by 30 June each year.
  • Cultural awareness and current RAP included in Induction training.
  • Staff encouraged and supported to attend Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community activities and events. Where appropriate, the Commission will also promote such events through social media, including demonstrating staff involvement.
  • Implement and review a cultural awareness training strategy for ACT HRC staff which defines continuous cultural learning needs of employees in all areas of our business and considers various ways of which cultural learning can be provided (online, face to face workshops, cultural immersion)’
5. Respect and uphold Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures through increasing visibility of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures at the Commission. Community Engagement Officer or equivalent By 30 September 2015
  • Display Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artworks and promotional materials in prominent positions.
  • Acknowledge authorship, intellectual property and cultural knowledge alongside artworks
  • Place Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags in a prominent position in the office

 

6. Promotion of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner By 30 September 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • Provide training on UN Declaration to community
  • Incorporate the Declaration in Human Rights and Discrimination into other training sessions
  • Mention the Declaration in at least two speeches by the Commission each year
  • Work with community to develop resources explaining new right protecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures in ACT Human Rights Act, if this amendment passes.

 

7.       Hold annual Race Relations Roundtable. Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner May/June each year
  • Invite at least 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations along with a range of other multi-cultural organisations.
  • Agenda to include direct feedback from attendees on:
    • Access and equity issues for the Commission
    • Areas where racism is manifesting in the ACT and areas for focus to eliminate racism in the ACT
    • Encouragement of all attending organisations to create a RAP.

Opportunities

Creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to contribute to the Commission as staff members is important because it increases our ability to connect with community, increases the cultural diversity of the Commission and helps us contribute to closing the unacceptable gaps that exist between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and other peoples in the ACT community.
Focus area: Create a range of options to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as staff.

Action Responsibility Timeline Measurable Target
1.       Implement Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and Contract Services Strategy. Children and Young People Commissioner supported by the other Commissioners Assess number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people on recruitment panels by 30 September 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018Continue to seek funding for SOHO engagement position by 30 June 2016, 2017, 2018

PADP compliance assessed by 30 September 2016, 2017, 2018.

  • Develop mentoring opportunities for new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff;
  • Facilitate cultural supervision arrangements to new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff;
  • Managers consider cultural responsibilities for employees;
  • Managers invite external Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in recruitment panels.
  • Relationships built with the educational institutions to encourage internships.
  • HRC to continue consulting with other Statutory Office Holders and Justice Directorate, about creating an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community liaison position at the ASO 5 level to be a point of contact for JACS statutory agencies. The creation of this position would be subject to other statutory bodies agreeing and funds being provided by the JACS Directorate.
  • All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to have Personal Achievement and Development Plan in place within 30 days of commencing employment.
2. Advertise all staff vacancies in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media. Executive Officer Assess 30 September 2016, 2017, 2018
  • All positions advertised in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media.
  • Positions announced at all staff meetings and staff asked to distribute via their networks.

 

3. Create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traineeships, cadetships, internships and work experience placements. Children and Young People Commissioner supported by the other Commissioners Assess July each year
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person, as part of Justice and Community Safety Directorate (JACS) or ACT Government Traineeship programme placed at the Commission
4. Co-present training sessions with staff from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service or organisation. Human Rights & Discrimination Commissioner supported by the  other Commissioners Assess July each year
  • At least 1 training session planned, delivered and reviewed jointly.
  • Reported in the Commission’s Annual Report.
Increase opportunities for businesses owned by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to supply their goods and services to your organisations. Reviews completed by 31 December 2015% of catering funds spent on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Businesses to be assessed 30 September 2016, 2017, 2018.
  • Review procurement policies so barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses are able to be addressed.
  • Review and reform procurement strategy, policy and processes so that supplier diversity principles can be incorporate into the commission’s procurement strategy.
  • The Commission commits to sourcing 50% of its catering from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business
  • The Commission will investigate sourcing 50% of its branded collateral and merchandise from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander provider.

Tracking progress and reporting

Action Responsibility Timeline Measurable Target
Build ACT HRC RAP commitments into employees’ performance agreement to ensure all staff are aware of their obligations under the RAP  Children and Young People Commissioner supported by the other Commissioners Report PADPs to be assessed 30 September 2016, 2017, 2018. RAP actions reported upon to Commission in quarterly reports provided by the RAP Committee.

  • Provide regular updates to staff to remind them of their obligations under the RAP;
  • Include compliance with the RAP in performance agreements and assess staff performance against RAP;
  • Ensure that the RAP actions are met as far as possible in the performance of the work of their section; and
  • Consider the RAP in project planning and design.
RAP made publicly available Human Rights and Discrimination Commissioner andCommunity Engagement Officer or equivalent December 2015
  • RAP endorsed by Reconciliation Australia and placed on its website
  • RAP on Commission website
  • Include a statement or report summarising themes in feedback evaluating the Commission’s services and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and actions taken to address this feedback, i.e. feeding back to public and closing loop.
The RAP Committee will assist Commissioners and staff with the implementation and monitoring of the RAP. RAP Committee September each year

 

  • Report on RAP in Commission’s Annual Report
  • Complete and submit the RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire to Reconciliation Australia annually
  • Refreshed RAP endorsed by Reconciliation Australia
RAP Committee and Commissioners refresh RAP RAP Committee 1 December 2015
  • Refreshed RAP launched.