The City of Newcastle has had its own Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in place since 2013, made under the auspices of Reconciliation Australia. This plan outlines actions that we can take to promote reconciliation in the workplace, including the training of non-indigenous employees in Indigenous culture, employing Indigenous people in the organisation and supporting important activities like National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week, among other things.
Action 2.4 in Council's RAP 2013-14 included the development of a community toolkit that provides information on Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country. See below:
2.4 Engage Council staff in the development and understanding of protocols and guidelines associated with Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country to ensure there is shared meaning behind these ceremonies.
Communications, RAP Working Group, Community Planning Coordinator, Aboriginal Development Officer.
- Include Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country guidelines in the current RAP
- Communicate to employees and volunteers the meaning and significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols such as Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country
- Develop toolkit for organisation and community use.
The Guidelines for Acknowledgement of Aboriginal Custodians and Welcome to Country are intended to be used by local organisations. They have been developed from Council's own guidelines, which were made in consultation with Council's Guraki Aboriginal Advisory Committee and Reconciliation Working Group. The aim for this document is to provide the community with information on when it may be necessary to acknowledge Aboriginal custodians or organise a Welcome to Country. The guidelines also provide suggestions of acknowledgements that are culturally appropriate.
By providing these guidelines, Council hopes to encourage more people and organisations to meaningfully consider local Aboriginal cultural traditions and history by incorporating acknowledgement into their everyday business. The overall aim of this is to help create a more cohesive community and to assist in the reconciliation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.
See the current Reconciliation Action Plan 2016-2018 (pdf).