Neami’s Reconciliation Action Plan workshop

Neami Leadership and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff, consumers and external guests gathered on 19 April 2017 at The Centre, Ivanhoe to develop Neami's first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The purpose of the workshop was to begin to develop the initial draft for Neami's Reflect RAP. The workshop brought together key stakeholders to develop a vision for the RAP, and action points under three key areas: Relationships, Respect and Opportunities.

At the workshop were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff, consumers and guests from other organisations. The facilitator was Karen Milward, Aboriginal Consultant from Karen Milward Consulting – who has a long standing working relationship with Neami and has overseen the development of twenty five RAPs with other organisations.

There were many elements that contributed to the success of the workshop. One was having excellent representation from around the country – there was at least one Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander representative from every state that Neami operates in.  The expertise of our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander representatives was demonstrated, as they led the discussion and informed the language that Neami will use as the focus and direction of the Reflect RAP, supported by high levels of engagement and collaboration from Neami leadership.

Karen Milward's facilitation was outstanding in harnessing the diverse range of experience and knowledge in the room to develop clear actions and directions for Neami to move forward with.

The excitement being generated from Neami’s commitment to this process was evident in how everyone contributed and focused to achieve the intended outcomes of the day.

Dajarra Browne, one of the consumer representatives, spoke about what Reconciliation meant to her: "For me, it means acknowledging our past wrongs. And while we can never change them, all we can do is make sure our future is always better. And that's the biggest thing for me – is I want my daughter to grow up in a world where she's happy to be indigenous and not scared to identify. Cause that was me for the longest time. I didn't identify as an Aboriginal woman, which hurt me. So that's what Reconciliation is all about."

The combined effort and hard work of the RAP Steering Committee needs acknowledgement, as they helped to guide the preparation for the workshop and will also guide the future direction of the RAP. A big thank you to the Steering Committee. 

Karen Milward will now collate the contributions from the day to develop the first draft, which will then be fed back to the Steering Committee. Neami will also consult with different communities to ensure the organisation is on the right path before submitting the draft to Reconciliation Australia for feedback and endorsement.

Another positive outcome from the workshop is that Neami will look to broadening the Steering Committee into a larger Working Group – several representatives at the workshop expressed interest in being part of this.

In related news, Reconciliation Australia have released the latest results showing the success of the RAP program. Neami is excited to join a group of organisations looking to make a difference and contribute to the domains of Relationships, Respect and Opportunities. You can view the report here.

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