Building stronger relationships between our First Nations peoples and valuing and celebrating their culture and heritage remains a top priority as Sunshine Coast Council unanimously endorsed its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2021-2022 (RAP) today (25 March).
Sunshine Coast Council was the first local government in Queensland to develop a RAP with Reconciliation Australia in 2011.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said over the past decade, council has worked to grow broader community awareness and appreciation of the contribution of our First Nations peoples to the social and economic fabric and natural landscapes and ecosystems of the Sunshine Coast.
“An important part of our work has also been focussed on developing a culturally capable workplace at council, promoting respect and valuing the skills, experience and perspectives of First Nations employees and representatives in our community,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“This reflects our council’s commitment – and my own personal commitment – to advancing reconciliation and strengthening our collaboration with our local First Nations communities across many facets of our work.
“The Sunshine Coast Community Strategy 2019-2041 and our Corporate Plan each contain an important goal of a Strong Community where the Sunshine Coast is a rich tapestry of landscapes, places and people.
“Our communities represent our aspirations and define our sense of place. They also reflect our history – from which we build our plans for the future.
“Our First Nations peoples are an integral part of that history and in guiding our future.
“The RAP seeks to strengthen and embed connection, inclusion, awareness and opportunity as part of our reconciliation journey.
“Reconciliation is everyone’s responsibility and our commitment is to create an organisational culture which respects every individual and promotes equality of opportunity for our community.”
Sunshine Coast Council Community Portfolio Councillor David Law said the implementation of this Innovate RAP 2021-2022 would continue to build and strengthen the relationships that are essential for Reconciliation with the Traditional Owners and First Nations People.
“This next RAP will continue to guide our work building equitable partnerships and relationships for the future,” Cr Law said.
“We are following Reconciliation Australia’s framework which outlines four types of RAP – Reflect, Innovate, Stretch and Elevate – that a workplace can develop.
“A number of new initiatives have been introduced within council’s new RAP such as the development of a cultural protocol document – including a cultural heritage guideline; the development of a First Nations’ recruitment, retention and professional development strategy; and projects building on council’s existing cultural awareness program and community engagement framework.
“These commitments provide a solid foundation within our organisation before we progress to a Stretch RAP in the future.”
The RAP was developed following consultation and discussions with Traditional Custodians of the Region. The artworks that are presented throughout the RAP document has been created by artists from Kabi Kabi people and Jinibara people (please see artist statement below).
- 1.9 % of the Sunshine Coast population identify as a First Nations person (Census 2016)
- Council has 29 First Nations employees (As at September 2020)
- The Sunshine Coast is the traditional lands of the Kabi Kabi peoples and the Jinibara peoples. It’s also home to an increasing number of First Nations people originating from across Queensland and Australia.
Amanda Pitt-Lythgoe,Traditional Custodian Group: Kabi Kabi
Title: Passing On Knowledge
“As a child growing up I remember sitting with my Mother and Grandmother, listening to many stories about our culture, our families sticking together, the importance of sharing and caring for our people and connection to country.
The story I tell Passing On Knowledge represents sharing our stories to our future generations.
The left hand indicates leaving the knowledge behind and also the connection to spirit. The three hands are for past, present and future.
The circle constitutes a meeting place that is our community and mob reconciling in the diverse society we live in today, treating everyone equally as one.
The speckles are for the sand, shell middens and coastlines, where our water meets our land. The symbols around the circle represent the people coming together as a community living in peace and harmony.
The footprints in the pathway are our ancestors that have paved the way for us and shown us that journey to continue on strong. Each step we take toward reconciliation we can move forward together.
The pathway also takes shape as our rivers and our waterways, as they are so vital and important to us to keeping that flow and water sustained.
Seven footprints are a representation of change and they’re moving up with their right foot forward, to achieve self-determination, which is an acknowledgment of what our Elders passed on to us for a bigger and brighter future.”