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Reconciliation: More than a word

May 21st, 2021

Anton Barnett-Harris

Chief Executive Officer

Australian Physiotherapy Council

Imagine you feel invisiblepart of a minority, unequally treatedexperience discrimination and racism, unable to access health services in society, don’t feel culturally safe or your true story is not heard or recognised. 

For many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia, they share these are some of their emotions and experiences. 

This might be the challenging and confronting parts of Australia’s history and current reality, but this National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 2 June) gives us all an opportunity to pause and reflect, and get involved in the action to affect change for the better  

What is Reconciliation?

Reconciliation is a journey for all Australians – as individuals, families, communities, organisations, and importantly as a nation. At the heart of this journey are relationships between the broader Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Why does Reconciliation Week matter to the Council?

At the heart of why the Council exists, it’s all about people – and we stand and live by it every day.  

We believe it’s our responsibility as an Australian organisation to speak, act and advocate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and reconciliation here in Australia. 

Recently we’ve been learning from some indigenous friends of the Council, that if we want to truly commit ourselves to reconciliation for the benefit of all people here in Australia, then we need to build relationships of trust that deepen our understanding and respect for the experiences and challenges of indigenous people. 

What’s the Council doing to build trust and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and issues of importance?

The Council is on a journey to grow our cultural understanding and awareness and has taken some important steps. 

We’ve developed our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and undertaken staff training and awareness building. We are integrating indigenous considerations into our accreditation of university programs. And we are deeply grateful for the contribution of Dr Doseena Fergie and Danielle Manton who sit on our Accreditation Committee and bring invaluable indigenous perspectives to our work.  

Now imagine a different kind of Australia, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel seen, valued, treated equally, don’t experience discrimination or racism, able to fully access health services, feel culturally safe and their true story is sought, heard and recognised. 

All of us have a part to play in creating an Australia like this!   

For more information check out the National Reconciliation Week resources.

From Anton Barnett-Harris, CEO, on behalf of the Council

#MoreThanAWord  #NRW2021  

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