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Home > News > 2016 > August > RAP acknowledges responsibility of supporting reconciliation

RAP acknowledges responsibility of supporting reconciliation

Hymba_Yumba.pngIEUA-QNT’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has been officially endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, acknowledging our ethical and professional responsibility to positively influence future generations by supporting the process of reconciliation within  members’ school communities.

Having been endorsed in June, our union’s RAP will operate at the Innovate level in accordance with Reconciliation Australia guidelines.

An Innovate RAP is for organisations that have developed relationships with their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and are ready to develop or implement programs for cultural learning, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and supplier diversity.

RAP Caretaker and Branch Secretary, Terry Burke, said to achieve the status of operating at an Innovate level allows our union to extend beyond symbolic gestures, with clear actions that will have a lasting, positive impact on interactions between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

“We are extremely pleased that Reconciliation Australia has acknowledged our RAP, recognising our commitment to fostering reconciliation and building positive, constructive relationships,” Mr Burke said.

“The actions incorporated within our RAP outline our belief that building and maintaining meaningful engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members and their local communities is an important and necessary step to achieving Reconciliation in Australia.”

Our union’s RAP details significant events and actions, including:

  • increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Representatives on union bodies;
  • celebrating NAIDOC Week each year in July; 
  • marking Close the Gap Day;
  • acknowledging Country at meetings and events;
  • supporting Narragunnawali Reconciliation in Schools; and
  • increasing participation in our union’s Yarning Circle. 






The RAP will also help facilitate understanding, promote meaningful engagement, increase equality and develop employment opportunities.

“Union values are also reconciliation values based around partnerships, solidarity, activism, justice, collectivism and inclusivity.

“This commitment goes beyond industrial matters like wages and conditions – it is about using our collective strength to make positive changes in our workplace, our community and our society.”

Message stick to continue its journey of reconciliation

As part of our union’s RAP launch and acknowledging Australia’s First Peoples, our union initiated the circulation of a message stick throughout Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The Message Stick —a traditional form of communication for Indigenous peoples— will continue its journey throughout the state and territory in light of the overwhelming response and positive conversations it is supporting in communities it has visited. 

As part of National Reconciliation Week the Message Stick visited the Ipswich region for a significant event at the Hymba Yumba Community Hub in Springfield, where it was presented to community elders during the school’s Senior Bynda (school yarning circle).

The Message Stick has also toured northern Queensland, with the town of Ayr’s traditional owners, the Juru and Bindal people, asking a local Aboriginal student to share her experiences in a written statement to accompany the Message Stick in its continued journey.

IEUA-QNT Organiser Wendy Hutchinson said the Message Stick will also travel on with a picture of their tribal totem – the giant carpet snake called ‘Gubulla Munda’. Known as the protective spirit for the Birri-Gubba people, it sits on the site of the park in Ayr and honours the sacred burial ground where many of their ancestors are buried.

To read our full RAP, go to www.qieu.asn.au/rap. For more photos and information on the Message Stick’s journey visit www.qieu.asn.au/messagestick

For more information or for schools wishing to create their own RAP, go to: www.reconciliation.org.au/raphub

Authorised by Terry Burke, Independent Education Union of Australia – Queensland & Northern Territory Branch, Brisbane.