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May 12, 2021

Lismore council launches new Reconciliation Action Plan

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Lismore council is launching its new Reconciliation Action Plan.
Lismore council is launching its new Reconciliation Action Plan.

Lismore City Council is launching its new Reconciliation Action Plan at a morning tea today to celebrate National Reconciliation Week.

The event will include a Welcome to Country and flag raising, Aboriginal dance and song, a focus on the 1967 Referendum and a community morning tea.

General manager Gary Murphy said the new RAP, which builds on the work of the council’s inaugural RAP launched in 2013.

‘We have come a long way in four years and I am immensely proud of the practical measures we have taken to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,’ Mr Murphy said.

‘Our first RAP turned symbolism into action, taking our good intentions and laying out a clear plan of action to affect positive change both within our organisation and the broader community.

‘This new RAP consolidates the work we have done in employment, community engagement and cultural awareness, and pushes us to continue enhancing our understanding of Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander culture and people, and to build opportunities for increased employment and a voice in Council decision-making.’

The new RAP includes three focus areas based on the key principles of relationships, respect and opportunities.

Focus area 1: Community engagement (relationships). Actions include continuing the Aboriginal Advisory Group established from the 2013 RAP, developing a Memorandum of Understanding with Ngulingah Local Aboriginal Land Council, and participating in National Reconciliation Week events.

Focus area 2: Cultural awareness and competency (respect). Actions include implementing a Cultural Competence & Training Strategy for Councillors and staff, hosting NAIDOC Week events, and ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols such as Acknowledgement of Country are practiced.

Focus area 3: Employment and procurement (opportunities). Actions include continuing the Aboriginal Employment Strategy in order to achieve a workforce that is 6% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and work with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to increase the supply of goods and services.

The new Reconciliation Action Plan 2017-2018 was adopted by the council in April 2017.


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  1. Quotas are a bad idea, incentivizes people not to attain relevant training or skills because they are offered guarantees of employment that other groups are not. Leads to the group eventually becoming even more deskilled than they otherwise would be.

  2. All candidates for public sector jobs need to be qualified, have the right skill sets, and show they will be able to do the job. There are usually more people able to do the job then there are jobs – targets mean suitably qualified people from the target group get the job instead of suitably qualified other people. All large groups of humans, including of course indigenous people, have the same range of human abilities, and now with targeted training and education opportunities there are usually qualified and trained people from the target group able to do any kind of work around. Members of the target group with good public sector jobs can become role models and advocates for the group. It is a time honoured way to provide better opportunities in the broader society for the group – that is what happened to Australian Catholics, and is happening now in with indigenous people. I worked for a short time for the head office of a public owned company which is the largest employer of Aboriginals in Australia. About half of the head office staff and most of the managers were aboriginal and the level of qualification an training and the quality of their work and of management was of the same high standard that is normal in a the head office of a Commonwealth agency.


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