TAMWORTH could become home to one of the first regional councils in NSW to adopt a nationally recognised Reconciliation Action Plan.
The plan, recognised by Reconciliation Australia, “encourages greater acknowledgement, understanding, respect, inclusion and opportunities for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of this region”.
Council joins more than 1000 Australian corporations, government and non-for-profit organisations that have established an action plan, but there are only five local councils with endorsed Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP) in NSW.
Only Cessnock and Tweed councils have endorsed RAPs in regional NSW.
The draft plan has set down a raft of actions for council to pursue in the next two years.
It will aim to strengthen the relationship between council and the Tamworth Aboriginal Community Consultative Committee.
Reconciliation is hard work – it’s a long, windy and corrugated road, not a broad and paved highway.- Reconciliation Australia CEO - Karen Mundine.
It has set down a plan to “coach local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders in the community on the political process” with the goal of encouraging them to run for office in the future.
Another goal set down was investigating ways to promote and publicise Gamilaraay language in the community.
The plan suggested Gamilaraay translations for street names and localities, particularly in prominent local areas.
The Tamworth Regional Council draft RAP also said it would seek to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within the organisation.
Council will also add an “acknowledgement of country” at its ordinary meetings from 2019.
Reconciliation Australia Chief Executive Officer Karen Mundine welcomed Tamworth’s RAP.
“We wish Tamworth Regional Council well as it explores and establishes its own unique approach to reconciliation,” Ms Mundine said.
“We encourage Tamworth Regional Council to embrace this journey with open hearts and minds, to grow from the challenges and build on its successes.
“Reconciliation is hard work – it’s a long, windy and corrugated road, not a broad and paved highway.
“Determination and effort at all levels of government and in all sectors of the community will be essential to make reconciliation a reality.”