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East Gippsland Reconciliation Plan launched

Wednesday 27 February

East Gippsland Shire Council has formalised its commitment to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan following the signing of an agreement in Bairnsdale today.


Mayor, Cr Dick Ellis, said Council had been working towards developing better working relationships with the Aboriginal community in East Gippsland.


“This work has been positive, but an opportunity now exists to take a more focussed and strategic approach to this task through the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan as a formal process,” Cr Ellis said.


“Resources to support the development of the Reconciliation Action Plan have been committed by the Advancing Country Towns Project to support Council in developing a comprehensive plan that will effect organisation change that is visible to the community.


“The signing of today’s document of intent to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan is the first important step in this process for the organisation.


Council recognises the valuable contribution to the East Gippsland region made by Aboriginal people and looks forward to a future of mutual respect and harmony,” Cr Ellis concluded.


Council’s Chief Executive Officer, Steve Kozlowski, said a Reconciliation Action Plan publicly formalises an organisation’s contribution to reconciliation by identifying clear actions with realistic targets and would be developed in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, organisations and leaders.


“RAPs are also about embedding cultural change within a whole organisation, through building good relationships, respecting the special contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and creating opportunities,” Mr Kozlowski said.


“East Gippsland Shire has a significant Indigenous population. It is appropriate therefore that the Shire develops a Reconciliation Action Plan that contributes to increasing the participation of Aboriginal people in all aspects of society.


“We can then be able to establish the organisation as a leader in this field within the municipality and provide a catalyst for further action within other organisations. We have a unique opportunity to demonstrate what it means to take a shared journey in reconciliation to our residents, workers and visitors in East Gippsland,” Mr Kozlowski concluded.


The event was held at the Gippsland and East Gippsland Aboriginal Co-operative in Bairnsdale, attended by 100 people.


The event was also used as to promote the fact that East Gippsland will be hosting the Deadly in Gippsland conference later in 2013. The purpose of Deadly in Gippsland is to highlight the ‘deadly’ work being accomplished by Aboriginal people in their communities.


Mayor, Cr Dick Ellis, and CEO Steve Kozlowski with Aboriginal leaders at the signing of the East Gippsland Reconciliation Action Plan.


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