In January of 2023 Active received formal approval from Reconciliation Australia for our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Our reconciliation journey began several months earlier when we decided as a business that having a formal plan in place was an important part of our growth.
Active Utilities recognises the value of reconciliation and what it means to our communities around Australia. We believe that this is an important step towards creating strong connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and that developing a RAP is a key step in our reconciliation journey. This will also create a start toward ensuring that as a Company our contributions to the reconciliation process are meaningful. We acknowledge that we have a role to play in assisting to reconcile our nation by learning, acknowledging, and developing an inclusive culture that contributes to reconciliation.
At the recent SCA National Conference in Darwin, which occurred the week after Reconciliation Week, Active chose to use our exhibition space as one of our Reconciliation Week events. We were honoured to have Nova Peris OAM (a proud descendant of the Gija people of East Kimberley, the Yawuru people of West Kimberley & the Gagudju people of West Arnhem Land) as our keynote presenter on Day 1, where she took us through her journey to becoming an Olympic Athlete and to then also the first indigenous woman elected to Australia’s Federal Parliament.
Nova arranged for us to have 3 wonderful artists from the Tiwi Islands who spent their time producing artworks which were then auctioned off. Rather than provide give away items to load up everyone’s suitcases on the flight home, we chose to donate $50 for everyone who registered their details to the Nova Peris Foundation1 and between this and the proceeds from the artwork auctions, we raised over $15,000 to assist Nova in creating sustainable communities.
Over the 2 days of the exhibition, we had many delegates speak to us about our RAP and express interest in understanding how to go about starting a RAP for themselves and their organisations. Whilst everyone can take substantial action for reconciliation, RAP’s are specifically designed for workplaces and to develop a RAP you need to be a workplace, have employees, and have operations in Australia, among other prerequisites. A RAP is a strategic document that helps organisations to build respectful relationships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and foster opportunities in supplier diversity, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment and cultural learning.
There are four RAP types — Reflect, Innovate, Stretch and Elevate. Each allows organisations to continuously develop their reconciliation commitments.
Reflect RAP: Scoping capacity for reconciliation
Reflect RAP’s are for 12 months and are right if your organisation is new to reconciliation and unsure how to get started.
They set out steps to prepare your organisation for reconciliation initiatives in future RAP’s.
Innovate RAP: Implementing reconciliation initiatives
An Innovate RAP runs for two years, and outlines actions for achieving your organisation’s vision for reconciliation.
Innovate RAP commitments allow your organisation to gain a deeper understanding of your sphere of influence and establish the best approach to advance reconciliation.
Stretch RAP: Embedding reconciliation
A Stretch RAP is best suited to organisations that have developed strategies and established a very strong approach towards advancing reconciliation internally and within the organisation’s sphere of influence.
Elevate RAP: Leadership in reconciliation
An Elevate RAP is for organisations that have a proven track record of embedding effective RAP initiatives in their organisation through Stretch RAP’s and are ready to take on leadership to advance national reconciliation.
The RAP program’s strength is its framework of relationships, respect, and opportunities, allowing an organisation to strategically set its reconciliation commitments in line with its own business objectives, for the most effective outcomes. These outcomes contribute towards the ﬁve dimensions of reconciliation:
• race relations;
• equality and equity;
• institutional integrity;
• unity; and
• historical acceptance.
Active’s RAP enables us to deepen our understanding of our sphere of inﬂuence and the unique contribution we can make to lead progress across the ﬁve dimensions. Getting these ﬁrst steps right will ensure the sustainability of future RAPs for our business and reconciliation initiatives and provide meaningful impact toward Australia’s reconciliation journey.
Starting your RAP
Developing a Reconciliation Action Plan is a journey and a collaborative partnership with Reconciliation Australia. The first step is to understand if a RAP is right for your organisation. Once you have established a RAP is a good fit for your organisation, the next step is to complete an expression of interest. You will then draft your RAP using the templates and resources provided on registration, and in consultation with your stakeholders. Once you have submitted a RAP, an Officer at Reconciliation Australia will then review your document in line with the RAP requirements. They will then provide you with strategic feedback. After the review process Reconciliation Australia will conditionally endorse your plan.
(Pictured: Mavis Kerinaiua – Miriam Joan (MJ) Puruntatameri – Ben Beck – Constance Puruntatameri – Andrew McMeekin – Nova Peris OAM – Jade Kyling)