The City of Sydney has committed to a Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan, joining a cohort of leaders with long-term strategies and measurable targets to advance reconciliation.
The three-year plan was endorsed by Council on Monday 16 November.
The organisational plan includes 131 specific actions to progress reconciliation by:
- strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities
- building respect and cultural capability within the City of Sydney organisation and broader public
- providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and individuals opportunities through procurement and employment.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the plan recognises the work the City of Sydney has already done to advance reconciliation and outlines steps to push the organisation further.
“We embrace the truthful reflection of the history and experiences of First Nations peoples, and are dedicated to equity, opportunity and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” the Lord Mayor said.
“I’m proud of how far we’ve come in building respect, nurturing relationships, creating opportunities, and recognising good governance and reporting – for and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. This Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan will focus our work to advance reconciliation in our organisation and in our sphere of influence.
“I look forward to seeing how our Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan will continue to transform our organisation and, in turn, benefit our communities.”
There are four types of Reconciliation Action Plans. This ‘stretch’ plan is the City’s second, and more ambitious, Reconciliation Action Plan – putting the City on the third level endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.
The first plan led to increased procurement from a diverse range of Indigenous businesses, signs in parks featuring Aboriginal language, more community engagement through the City’s grants programs and the development of an organisational Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce strategy.
Last year, the City amended its busking permit system to enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to continue to practise culture on Country without a permit and established an Indigenous Leadership and Engagement unit. Council endorsed a report detailing a 9km harbour foreshore walk that will share new and old stories of the First Peoples of Australia.
This second plan is focused on longer-term strategies and measurable targets and goals. Internal focus areas include increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to 3 per cent, growing the amount spent with Indigenous businesses to $2m annually, and ensuring all staff take part in cultural learning activities by 2023.
Endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, CEO Karen Mundine said the framework embeds longstanding commitments while expanding into new and timely strategies.
“The City has a vibrant sphere of influence from which to advance reconciliation,” said Karen Mundine, CEO Reconciliation Australia.
“As one of Australia’s first sites of contact, Sydney is built upon a rich and unique history of continuing connection, culture, resistance, and reconciliation.
“This plan notes the importance of First Nations engagement in its climate emergency response and increasing the visibility and prominence of place-based First Nations histories in the community, including the establishment of a local Aboriginal knowledge and culture centre in Redfern.”
The City’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisory panel encouraged the City to be brave in its leadership on reconciliation in its statement.
The panel statement said: “this plan outlines the City’s commitment to building a meaningful relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities that aims to support our social, cultural, spiritual and economic aspirations.”
“This means being inclusive, innovative and committed in its relationship with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.”
The City’s Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan contains 131 actions. See the full plan at cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/strategies-action-plans/reconciliation-action-plan