For several years, the Council has been on a journey to authentically discover how we grow our cultural awareness and contribute to the process of reconciliation for Australia’s Indigenous peoples.
We recognise that some of the ways to contribute to reconciliation are by individually and organisationally learning and growing, through building relationships with Indigenous organisations and peoples, and by leveraging our business activities to affect positive impact and change in how Indigenous peoples can access and be served by culturally safe physiotherapists in Australia.
In the Council’s core work, we’ve introduced Cultural Safety Training (CST) for overseas qualified physiotherapists undertaking our assessment journeys. Through the Council’s accreditation of physiotherapy university programs, we’ve increased the expectations for universities to demonstrate how cultural considerations are integrated into their physiotherapy programs.
Another important step on the Council’s journey is to grow our Board and staff’s cultural awareness and responsivity.
Recognising the significance of land and Country to Australia’s Indigenous peoples, we took our staff team for a Cultural Learning Day beyond the outskirts of Melbourne, the city where our office is located.
The intentional act of recognising Wurundjeri Country and learning about the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation, helped our staff team to engage and learn first-hand from our new friend, Lee, a Cultural Educator, who shared from her own lived experiences and truth telling.
Our staff were encouraged to lean into the discomfort of truth telling, take a posture of curiosity to listen and learn, consider practical ways to stamp out racism and become an ally to Indigenous peoples.
Reflection is recognised as a critical approach to growing cultural awareness. Here are some staff reflections from our Cultural Learning Day.
Council staff said …
- The issues around reconciliation are far more complex than I had ever appreciated
- I gained a greater understanding of the ongoing hurt and pain of First Nation Peoples
- Hearing Lee’s lived experience … having an Indigenous mother and non-Indigenous father was very moving
- I now have a better understanding and respect for Indigenous cultural diversity. I feel much more confident to start conversations with Indigenous [representatives]
- It was challenging, fascinating yet, despite the trauma of some of those experiences, Lee gave us an uplifting experience.
- I felt like it was a safe space to listen, learn and lean into the discomfort in order to help be respectful and understand more.
- It empowered me to ask more questions, be more curious
We recognise the heart of this reconciliation journey is about people. The Council is committed to seeking and building relationships with Indigenous peoples, inviting them to work with us to inform and shape our work, and improve Indigenous peoples’ access to cultural safe healthcare services, including physiotherapy.
And so our reconciliation journey continues.