With immense pride, on Friday, 7 June 2019, the Australian Physiotherapy Council (the “Council”) launched its inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
To mark this milestone, we were privileged to have wonderful friends join us in the Village. The launch commenced with an Acknowledgement to Country and inspired address delivered by RAP Working Group member, advocate and APA Sydney Sports Physiotherapist, Mr Michael Reynolds. Also, in attendance were our Board of Directors; our Staff; the full complement of our RAP Working Group including Dr Tess Ryan; and the Australian Physiotherapy Association’s CEO, Mr Cris Massis.
After the moving Acknowledgement to Country, our CEO Anton Barnett-Harris invited us to sit down to a meal where we shared stories and acknowledged our commitment to embrace inclusion, collaboration, equality of opportunity and reconciliation between Traditional Custodians of our nation and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Our RAP details the steps that the Council will take in the next 12-month period to work towards reconciliation in Australia. This RAP will allow our organisation to focus on building relationships both internally and externally as well as raising consciousness with all our stakeholders to ensure there is shared understanding and ownership of RAP within the Council and the spheres in which we have the most impact.
Through this journey, we have come to truly appreciate that reconciliation is about unity and respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community. It is about honouring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ heritage and valuing justice and equity for all Australians, above all things.
The Council’s vision for reconciliation is that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples will be rightfully restored to a place of equity, dignity and respect; where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures are celebrated, cultural safety and sensitivity ever championed, health and social inequality eradicated, and genuine, sustained partnerships are forged.
Our RAP was borne after a lengthy process of consultation with our stakeholders, our staff, our Board, our RAP Working Group and with the generous guidance and encouragement from Reconciliation Australia. This RAP is built on a genuine longing to foster relationships, collaboration, esteem and opportunities. These well-established themes embody our own organisational values of respect, compassion, integrity, decency and proud celebration (and record) of diversity and inclusion. Notwithstanding, this RAP is a recognition of the fact that we need, and are indeed committed, to doing so much more. “Let it Begin with us”.