What is a Reconciliation Action Plan?
Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) “provide a framework for organisations to leverage their structures and diverse spheres of influence to support the national reconciliation movement.”
“A 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.”
Volunteering Australia is committed to reconciliation in Australia
Volunteering Australia acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the oldest continuing civilisation in Australia. We affirm to recognising and uplifting First Nations practices of ‘community giving’, caring and giving to land, communities and other ecologies – past and present. We also acknowledge the historical and continued impact of colonisation and systemic racism on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and their cultural practices.
Volunteering Australia strives to place Indigenous sovereignty and self-determination at the heart of our research and advocacy for First Nations peoples. To this end, we affirm the Uluru Statement from the Heart as a necessary first step towards reconciliation, whilst recognising that it is the prerogative of the First Nations peoples to decide the full contours of self-determination.
As an organisation, we affirm our commitment to stand with First Nations peoples as their allies, and to learning with and through them in order to advocate for a more just society. We acknowledge that voluntary practices of ‘community giving’ are an intrinsic part of the everyday cultural life of First Nations peoples. In this process of reconciliation, we are committed to learning about First Nations communities’ definitions and experiences of volunteering; to recognising their privileged knowledge and contribution to the community; and to platforming our research as forms of ‘truth telling.’
As the national peak body for volunteering, our aim is to build stronger synergies between collaborative research and advocacy on the First Nations communities. It is also to foreground relationship building with First Nations peoples – researchers, community initiatives and organisations – and to recognise that it is through the strength of our relationships with the Traditional Custodians of the land that we can represent the ‘national’ character of our work.
Reconciliation Practice Group
The Reconciliation Practice Group is a discussion platform to further our reconciliation journey with the First Nations peoples, to learn about Indigenous practices of community giving, and to improve our role as allies of the First Nations peoples in Australia. Our group comprises members from volunteering peak bodies, with open and inclusive membership for like-minded individuals, researchers and organisations that are also working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and/or on reconciliation practices.
If you are a member of the First Nations community and would like to offer your perspectives on the Indigenous volunteering economy and/or challenges encountered by the communities, please reach out via email.