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Growing reconciliation: Reconciliation Action Plan 20172019

Growing reconciliationReconciliation Action Plan20172019

Commonwealth of Australia 2017


The department works to build and support a diverse workforceone that reflects the diversity of the broader Australian community. Staff and rangers featured on the cover are Tahlia Durante, Bruce Lansdown, RakrakpuyMarika and Allan Epong. Photographs: Kerry Trapnell.

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All material in this publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence, save for content supplied by third parties, logos and the Commonwealth Coat of Arms.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence is a standard form licence agreement that allows you to copy, distribute, transmit and adapt this publication provided you attribute the work. A summary of the licence terms is available from The full licence terms are available from

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Cataloguing data

This publication (and any material sourced from it) should be attributed as: Department of Agriculture and Water Resources 2017 Growing reconciliation: Reconciliation Action Plan 20172019, Canberra. CCBY3.0.

This publication is available at

Travis Power

Assistant Secretary, People Capability

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources

Postal address GPO Box 858 Canberra ACT 2601

Telephone 02 6272 4899



The Australian Government acting through the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has exercised due care and skill in preparing and compiling the information and data in this publication. Notwithstanding, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, its employees and advisers disclaim all liability, including liability for negligence and for any loss, damage, injury, expense or cost incurred by any person as a result of accessing, using or relying upon any of the information or data in this publication to the maximum extent permitted by law.

ContentsDedicationvAcknowledgementvTerms of respectvOur focus areas1Reconciliation Australia themes1Our reconciliation vision2Secretarys message3Champions support4Message from Reconciliation Australia5Who we are and what we do7What we say about reconciliation9Extending respect10Water, Coorong and Ngarrindjeri10Mangarrayi culturecaring for country15Northern futures16Drone technology17Inspired partnerships21Malak Malak Rangers care for country21Rewarding careers24Jawun experience24Collective decisions28Reconciliation Action Plan process28Tracking success32Procurement, pride and prosperity33Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ambassadors35Glossary36

TablesTable A1 Cultural learninginforms, reflects and transforms12Table A2 Cultural recognition of the longest-surviving continuous cultures in the world12Table A3 Cultural acknowledgementshows respect, appreciation commitment13Table B1 Economic diversificationstimulates thinking, identifies collaboration19Table B2 Cultural acknowledgementdemonstrates respect and commitment19Table B3 Biosecurity capabilityprotects Australia from exotic pests and diseases19Table C1 Events and celebrationsbuild relationships, deepen unity, value contributions22Table C2 Engagement and communicationcreates connections, informs decisions22Table C3 Partnerships and outreachwith networks, partners and communities23Table D1 Recruitmentincreases number of First Australians employed26Table D2 Retention and developmentlengthens First Australians careers27Table D3 Cultural recognitionof First Australians heritage and cultures27Table E1 Shared decision makinginfluences and promotes self-determination31Table E2 Monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvements of reconciliation32Table E3 Procurementincreases prosperity and shared value34Table E4 Departmental pridepromotes recognition of first Australians.34FiguresFigure 1 Department of Agriculture and Water Resources reconciliation highlights 201220166Figure 2 Reconciliation Action Plan governance structures29


This document is dedicated to the collective efforts of all staff who take reconciliation actions. Our voices, wisdom and commitment are reflected in the quotes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ambassadors and staff, which appear throughout.


The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of country throughout Australia and their continuing connections to land, sea and community.

We pay our respect to their cultures and Elders past, present and future.

We recognise all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and invite you to join our journey to reconciliation.

Terms of respect

In this document, the terms Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and First Australians are both used. These terms do not reflect the diversity of all peoples. The specific use of the word Indigenous is reserved for proper nouns. We have used standard Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) spellings throughout this document.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are advised that this document may contain images, names and quotes of people who have passed away.

Image 1 Kurrajong (Brachychiton)

Photograph: Kat Waterhouse

Growing reconciliation: Reconciliation Action Plan 20172019

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources


Our focus areas

Extending respect

Northern futures

Inspired partnerships

Rewarding careers

Collective decisions

Reconciliation Australia themes


Strong relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians are important to us to build trust and dialogue, advance equality and inclusivity, recognise identity, learn from each other and demonstrate integrity.


We respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, cultures, lands, histories and rights. These are important to our staff, our stakeholders and our communities. Together we foster cultural pride, shared understanding, leadership and capacity, agility and resilience.


Developing opportunities for and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, organisations and communities is critical to our success and sustainability. We reward critical thinking, develop teams, innovate systems and technologies, challenge limitations and embrace diversity.

Our reconciliation vision

Our vision is for a reconciled and inclusive Australian society that benefits our staff, our partners, our families and our communities. Our partnerships recognise and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples customs, traditions and diversity. Our commitments are grounded in effective and practical action. Our leadership powerfully effects reconciliation.

Our future workplace is free of racism, all our staff participate equally in career opportunities, our business structures and reconciliation actions are aligned and we recognise that addressing the past is critical to growing our future. Our workplaces and our work are strengthened by our recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their participation.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has developed this Reconciliation Action Plan to set our path towards that future in the next three years.

Image 2 Reconciliation in action

Ambassador Bruce Lansdown and Henry Epong of Mandubarra Aboriginal Land and Sea Inc

Photograph: Kerry Trapnell

When the day comes that we can all work together and see people as people without judgementthats the day reconciliation happens and we are truly working together as people. Bruce Lansdown, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ambassador, Cairns.

Secretarys message

From the northernmost tip of Torres Strait through to the Southern Ocean, and from east to west, the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has a broad reach. We also have significant long-term relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We work with the oldest continuous living cultures on the planet.

Reconciliation is fundamental to the work we do and how we do it.

We recognise the past and are investing in the future. Our practice of reconciliation turns opportunities into practical action that supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to achieve equality in all aspects of lifeand this benefits all Australians.

The Reconciliation Action Plan 20172019 outlines the five focus areas where our energy, wholehearted commitment and resources will fundamentally alter the future:

extending respect

northern futures

inspired partnerships

rewarding careers

collective decisions.

Daryl Quinlivan

Secretary and Indigenous Champion

Champions support

Our Reconciliation Action Plan 20172019 (RAP) articulates our commitment to deepening unity, building relationships, extending respect and creating opportunities in the department, with our partners and in our communities.

We put reconciliation into practice as we emp


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