To coincide with National Reconciliation Week, MTC Australia employees joined with students from Warakirri College Blacktown and notable guests to celebrate the launch of its first Reconciliation Action Plan.
Tuesday 29 May was an important day for MTC, as we announced our commitment to reconciliation in front of an audience of students and representatives from Indigenous-affiliated organisations.
According to Reconciliation Australia, a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) “is a strategic document that supports an organisation’s business plan. It includes practical actions that will drive an organisation’s contribution to reconciliation both internally and in the communities in which it operates.
“The RAP program contributes to advancing the five dimensions of reconciliation by supporting organisations to develop respectful relationships and create meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
Aboriginal Elder Wes Mann opened the proceedings with a traditional smoking ceremony, then gave an Acknowledgement of Country and spoke briefly about his people.
Master of Ceremonies Rachael March is a Youth Advisor in MTC’s Opportunity Hub, a NSW Government-funded program that provides students of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent with support as they transition from secondary school into further education or employment.
“I am appreciative to work for a company that seeks to improve its services to be inclusive to Indigenous peoples and Indigenous staff like me,” she said. “On paper, to some, the steps that the RAP sets out may seem small – but for me these are massive steps towards reconciliation. Young Indigenous people who may work for MTC one day will lay a similar foundation.
“Over time, our RAP will only strengthen as the communities’ needs change, and the culture at MTC becomes a standard that includes Indigenous peoples and respects Australian land and history through its Acknowledgement of Country.”
She introduced one of her Opportunity Hub students, the very talented Braithen Kemble, who gave a didgeridoo performance that captivated the audience.
MTC CEO Colin Lloyd took the microphone to welcome representatives from Blacktown and Liverpool councils, the Department of Education, Supply Nation, Reconciliation Australia, Muru Mittigar, and the AFL Indigenous Academy, among others.
“It is our goal to welcome more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to MTC, who’ll be able to develop strong relationships with our clients, particularly those who need support gaining employment,” Colin said.
“The work that we do and the programs that we run have the potential to be enormously beneficial to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Ultimately, we’d like for the community to see us as a true partner: inclusive, welcoming, and worthy of their trust.”
Warakirri College student Shontelle Willis-Hayek gave a moving speech about her journey to rediscover and connect with her Indigenous heritage.
“Our family are very artistic and we are very involved with song and dance. My cousin Emma Donovan sings in the Ghumbangi language and her songs talk about our loss of land, the stolen generation and also about how we are all connected to Mother Earth. Our family enjoys singing and dancing as a way of remembering, teaching and sharing our culture,” she said.
“As a Warakirri College student I am glad to have the opportunity to complete my HSC in a school which is respectful of my background and which encourages me to pursue a future where I can achieve for my family and contribute to my community.”
Our vision for reconciliation is a culture that embraces unity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. Read more about MTC Australia’s 2018–2020 Reconciliation Action Plan.