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2018 winners and finalists

Business

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Rio Tinto has a long history of working in partnership with Traditional Owner Groups and communities in the Cape York region to provide employment opportunities for local Indigenous people.

Initiatives have been developed with the local Wik and Wik Waya communities to ensure a strongly supportive work environment that promotes cross-cultural understanding. These include cultural camps on country, Welcome to Country ceremonies for employees, weekend activities on country and a co-designed area at the camp used to celebrate culture and history.

At the end of 2017, the Indigenous workforce across Rio Tinto’s Weipa Operation and Amrun Project reached 574 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, including 244 local Aboriginal people from surrounding Indigenous communities. The workforce has been bolstered by onsite construction jobs at Amrun and a community commute from Aurukun that has allowed employment directly from community.

The Work Readiness Program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people was established by Downer Mining at its Meandu and Blackwater mines to provide training and mentoring that prepares participants for work in the mining industry.

Through positive working relationships and support networks with respected role models in each community, Downer Mining was able to gain an understanding of cultural knowledge in each area and tailor the training needs of each participant.

Since the program was initiated in 2014, 26 participants have been accepted into the program—24 participants successfully completed the program and gained employment with Downer Mining, with 23 participants still employed by the company.

The Work Readiness Program has provided permanent employment for local Indigenous people and at the end of January 2018, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees represented 5.51 per cent of the Downer Mining workforce.

Ausco Modular has a well-recognised brand in supporting local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in and around the Townsville region through various partnerships and initiatives over the last ten years.

Through these initiatives, Ausco Modular has created a movement in the business to understand and engage with its local and Indigenous communities and to play a role in providing training, education and employment opportunities either in its manufacturing facilities or in its projects executed around Australia.

Ausco’s aim for 2018 is to expand to a broader national focus across Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory to provide additional employment opportunities to the communities it works in.

Native Swimwear Australia is a luxury Indigenous fashion label leading the way in sustainability. It is 100 per cent owned and operated by Indigenous duo Eli and Natalie Cunningham. Natalie is a multi-award winning fashion designer and was the first Indigenous Australian in history to showcase their label at New York Fashion Week.

Working closely with Indigenous artists to feature authentic Indigenous Australian prints, Native Swimwear Australia is able to share the artist’s traditional Dreamtime stories with the world through fashion.

Each garment is designed and inspired from their traditional culture and handmade on the Sunshine Coast from the highest quality sustainable fabrics.

Every Native Swimwear Australia print is exclusive to Native Swimwear Australia through license agreements and embraces Fair Trade principles with a portion from each garment sale going back to the artist.

Community

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The Reconciliation Fun Run was launched five years ago by the Ration Shed and takes place annually between Murgon and Cherbourg, two once divided communities.

This event is about eliminating the fear and misunderstanding which prevent people from engaging with each other.

The Fun Run is managed by Ration Shed staff and a network of volunteers including many Elders and community people. It has had continuous growth each year as more people get involved and participate.

With this event, the Ration Shed goes beyond its core business as a museum and cultural centre, bringing together a wide range of service providers, sportspeople and entertainers to promote diversity and a healthy lifestyle, as well as showcasing Aboriginal culture and encouraging good relationships between the once divided communities.

Since its development in 2013, attendance to the Yarrabah Band Festival has quadrupled, with high profile Australian musicians such as Uncle Archie Roach, Troy Cassar-Daley, James Morrison and Sara Storer, as well as community musicians, enticing thousands of visitors from outside the region.

Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council is a driving force in growing the impact of the festival for the benefit of the community.

Attracting visitors to the relatively isolated town achieves a number of important outcomes which include: fostering cross-cultural collaboration and relationships; breaking down perceived barriers to engagement with Indigenous communities; creating a positive profile that focuses on their strengths, rather than just the challenges; and generating positive economic impact for local businesses.

This spectacular event has attracted an international profile and continues to grow in reputation as it provides opportunities for diverse audiences to experience Indigenous culture.

Over the past eight years, Wagner Road Early Childhood Centre and Kindergarten has formed a collegial teaching and learning partnership with Aboriginal Elder, Uncle Joe Kirk.

While this partnership initially began with visits by Uncle Joe to the centre, it has since developed into leadership initiatives which engage and provide examples to other early childhood centres and schools through local networking, statewide professional development delivery, as well as engagement with national peak bodies and initiatives.

Outcomes of this partnership bring an enhanced understanding of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures for staff, children and families, along with the impacts of Australian history for Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians.

These culturally responsive practices have helped students, teachers and parents learn about their role in advocating for and enacting reconciliation at classroom, operational and community outreach levels.

Orange Sky’s mobile laundry vans have been providing free laundry services throughout Australia since 2014. The laundry vans are designed to be completely self-sufficient and their mobility enables travel to areas where people experiencing homelessness meet and congregate.

The Lockhart River Program is Orange Sky’s first initiative in its Remote Communities program which focuses on a community-led integrated approach to partnership resulting in health and wellbeing initiatives being made available to remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities.

The Orange Sky remote service is committed to helping the 700 residents of Lockhart River by providing free laundry services, five days a week, at a number of locations throughout Lockhart River.

Working in direct partnership with other local service providers, Orange Sky is delivering an integrated approach to health, wellbeing and education, improving living standards and facilitating yarning at locations where the community come together.

Education

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Mabel Park State High School has an all-inclusive attitude to improving the literacy, numeracy, attendance, health and wellbeing of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Students receive education from Elders and community members about their culture as they attend different activities such as dance, arts, didgeridoo and boomerang making. Elders and other community members are willing to be included in any activity that will benefit the students and improve their personal development.

Since the programs started, the school has seen a significant improvement in student numbers, school attendance and student behaviour. Indigenous student numbers have increased from 56 in 2013 to 116 in 2018 with 100 per cent Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) attainment by Indigenous students.

This focused approach has been developing over the past five years and is now part of the whole school culture, as well as having a significant outreach effect within the local community.

Born from community need, local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families joined with Bald Hills State School staff to create Turrwan Circle.

Primary to the group’s vision was supporting the students and their families to form a strong collective identity, to create a genuine sense of ownership and belonging in the Turrwan Circle.

As part of the philosophy, families are included in the process of determining the desired educational outcomes of the children. By co-constructing this identity, space and philosophy, a strong excellence and empowerment agenda has been built for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Now in its sixth year, the Turrwan Circle's impact at the school is quite recognisable. Very strong and visible traditions and expectations have been established at Bald Hills State School. Members are proud of what they’ve achieved and are dedicated to investing in the future for the benefit of students, families and the wider community.

Yumbin is the Wakka Wakka term meaning ‘all of us’. It is a concept that encompasses Eidsvold State School’s ability to work together to create an inclusive educational culture.

In the past, the school’s profile was affected by a historical disengagement of students, a lack of aspiration, low staff morale and a clear divide between school and community.The Yumbin program was established as an opportunity for all students to develop a sense of belonging and connection to themselves, others and the community.

Students and teachers are divided into five P-12 groupings that rotate across the programs at the start of every school day. The P-12 alignment of Yumbin groups encourages older students to become role models for younger students and prepares all students with the skills to be culturally connected, healthy and resilient.

The instigation of Yumbin in late 2016 has led to a schoolwide culture shift based on a shared vision of authentic partnerships where all decision-making processes are collaborative.

There has been a noticeable improvement in student behaviour, attendance and connectedness where staff, student and community voices are not only encouraged, but valued.

The Jingeri Jingeri Project was conceived in 2011, when Tamborine Mountain State School students, staff and community acknowledged the importance of reconciliation. Since then, the school has demonstrated great commitment to consolidating and extending knowledge, understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Some of the current key reconciliation initiatives at Tamborine Mountain State School include:

  • an application to present the Jingeri Jingeri project to the 2018 Indigenous Education Conference, contributing to statewide education system improvement
  • promotion of the Yugambeh language through annual entries in the ABC Marrin Gamu National Indigenous Song Competition
  • highly respected Munanjali Elder and school advisor, Aunty Ruby Sims, honoured with an annual school award in her name at the Year 6 graduation ceremony in 2017
  • the gifting of a musical piece to the Thunderbird Choir, written by Aunty Ruby Sims, to be performed at significant events
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students closing the gap between Years’ 3 and 5 non-Indigenous students across all areas with Indigenous students’ results in reading, writing and numeracy demonstrating consistent growth over the past four years.

Partnership

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In 2017, Queensland Theatre became the first state theatre company to produce mainstage Torres Strait Island theatre.

My Name is Jimi tells the Bani family’s journey to preserve the language and culture of their home country, Mabuiag Island in the Torres Strait.

Queensland Theatre, together with Lone Star Company and Ergon Network and Energex, touched on each of the five dimensions of reconciliation throughout the course of My Name is Jimi. This was demonstrated on an internal company level, within Queensland Theatre’s Brisbane audience, in far north Queensland and in Sydney.

My Name is Jimi could have easily focused on the detrimental impacts of cultural loss. Instead, the Bani family chose to highlight Australia’s potential for unity in moving forward. The entire production embodied the spirit of shared national identity and took steps to teach language, customs and history to each and every audience member.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Reconciliation Action Plan is the first in Commonwealth Games history and the first produced for a major sporting event in Australia.

At the suggestion of Gold Coast Yugambeh community members, the plan was developed to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and heritage, to place these elements at the forefront of Games planning and provide long-term outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Early estimates suggest the plan will generate close to $10 million in contracts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned businesses, provide employment and training for up to 1000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, support cultural capability training and cultural integration at events across every aspect of the Games, and create lasting cultural programs and initiatives.

The Indigenous Engagement and Programming Initiative co-produced by Digi Youth Arts and Jungle Love Festival gives its audience access to conversations with Indigenous youth which leads to a greater understanding of the true history of this country.

This partnership demonstrates how reconciliation can be promoted and achieved in contemporary arts spaces.

Jungle Love Festival is an annual music and arts event with a core vision to provide an inclusive experience for all attendees. Digi Youth Arts is a not-for-profit collective of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists committed to sharing the stories of young people through creative exploration and contemporary performance.

Both organisations go beyond industry standards for Indigenous engagement and programming, hoping to create a best practice methodology for reconciliation within contemporary music festivals.

By embedding Indigenous-led content within the festival program, the younger demographic can make the next steps towards reconciliation from an informed position.

Jigija Indigenous Fire Training Program is a wholly Indigenous owned business which provides wild fire management and mitigation training on the traditional country of the Gangalidda People in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

Evolving from a close working relationship between Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and the Indigenous Ranger Program, the Jigija program provides a unique opportunity for Traditional Owners to impart their traditional ecological knowledge of fire and share practical lessons relevant to contemporary fire management across Australia.

This partnership has brought together a wide range of stakeholders including graziers and local government, and plays a crucial role in developing community-led resilience to bush fires.

Premier’s Reconciliation Award

Mabel Park State High School has an all-inclusive attitude to improving the literacy, numeracy, attendance, health and wellbeing of their Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

Students receive education from Elders and community members about their culture as they attend different activities such as dance, arts, didgeridoo and boomerang making. Elders and other community members are willing to be included in any activity that will benefit the students and improve their personal development.

Since the programs started, the school has seen a significant improvement in student numbers, school attendance and student behaviour. Indigenous student numbers have increased from 56 in 2013 to 116 in 2018 with 100 per cent Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) attainment by Indigenous students.

This focused approach has been developing over the past five years and is now part of the whole school culture, as well as having a significant outreach effect within the local community.

The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Reconciliation Action Plan is the first in Commonwealth Games history and the first produced for a major sporting event in Australia.

At the suggestion of Gold Coast Yugambeh community members, the plan was developed to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander values, culture and heritage, to place these elements at the forefront of Games planning and provide long-term outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Early estimates suggest the plan will generate close to $10 million in contracts for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned businesses, provide employment and training for up to 1000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, support cultural capability training and cultural integration at events across every aspect of the Games, and create lasting cultural programs and initiatives.

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2018 awards sponsors

The Queensland Reconciliation Awards is an initiative of the Queensland Government through the Department of the Premier and Cabinet, and the Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships.

Proudly supported by:

Business

Supported by Koori Mail

Koori Mail

Community

Supported by ABC Radio Brisbane and Queensland

ABC Radio Brisbane and Queensland ABC Radio

Education

Supported by BHP

BHP

Partnership

Supported by Australia Post

Queensland Government

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