In July, it will be two years since EnergyAustralia launched our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). The RAP was created with the vision to make a positive difference within our business and in the broader community through reconciliation and set out actions that we, as a business, are accountable for delivering on. We talk to EnergyAustralia’s Stakeholder Engagement Lead, Bianca Graham, to see how we're progressing on these commitments.
What was the driving force behind launching the RAP?
The driving force behind our RAP is EnergyAustralia’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. One area of focus for our Diversity and Inclusion Council is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement and participation - our RAP is how we bring this to life. The actions we’re committing to are all centred around its three pillars: Respect, Relationships and Opportunities. Our RAP is a ‘reflect’ RAP; the entry point for organisations at the beginning of their RAP journey.
The RAP set out steps we planned to take to increase engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, culture and communities. How are we progressing on these commitments?
Some of the activities we’ve undertaken since our RAP launched include the launch of an Indigenous business procurement trial, the development of an Indigenous employment strategy, a range of on-site presentations and cultural awareness sessions and a great initiative from one of our offices to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff by highlighting their heritage on an Aboriginal language map. We also offered our support to the Indigenous Marathon Foundation in the lead up to the Melbourne Marathon festival, with 57 employees raising awareness and funds for the foundation.
While we’ve continued our partnerships with the Port Adelaide Football Club (PAFC) Aboriginal AFL Academy and the Wunan Foundation, what new relationships have been built in the community?
EnergyAustralia operates on Aboriginal land and one of our objectives is to build genuine and long-term connections with Traditional Owners of the country in which we operate. This can only be done by having dialogue and strengthening our relationships with Traditional Owners. Working relationships have since developed from these relationships, for example, between the Tallawarra Power Station and Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council. In this partnership we’ll be converting a section of land at the Tallawarra Power Station into a functioning nursery with the aim of at delivering economic benefits to support the local Aboriginal community.
How has the RAP helped raise internal awareness and understanding of local Aboriginal history and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures?
EnergyAustralia staff have learnt more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures and histories through cultural learning opportunities. These opportunities have included; a cultural awareness session hosted by the PAFC AFL Aboriginal Academy and special presentations by community members sharing their stories and culture. We also commemorate and participate in the special anniversaries that make up National Reconciliation Week including employees taking part in local cultural walks hosted by the Koori Heritage Trust.
What would a future EnergyAustralia look like if the RAP is fully realised?
Our overall vision is to build genuine and long-term connections with Traditional Owners of the country we operate in and the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We want to ensure we recognise and embrace Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures in the way we work and to grow their participation across our business. Reconciliation is a process of change that we all need to own, whether as an individual, a business or an industry.