Why the Reconciliation Action Plan is important to me
Below is the speech delivered by Rachel Dunphy, Operational Leadership Graduate at Aurizon's Reconciliation Action Plan launch.
I am Rachel Dunphy, I belong to the Darumbal country and people of Central Queensland. I am an operational leadership graduate and I started with the business in February this year.
The river is the river and the sea is the sea. Salt water and fresh, two separate domains. Each has its own complex patterns, origins, stories. Even though they come together they will always exist in their own right. This is reconciliation.
Working for a company that has a Reconciliation Action Plan means to me, that they care. They care enough about the people who work for them and the communities that our operations are into want to make it better. By developing and implementing a RAP Aurizon has shown that they recognise the hardships that aboriginal and Torre strait islander people suffered, and have put their hand up to lead our society into a world where opportunities are available for everyone.
A RAP also provides the foundations to create cultural safety in our working environments for aboriginal and Torre Strait islander people. Cultural safety is an environment which is safe for people, where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience, of learning together with dignity, and truly listening. The most important thing about cultural safety though, is that it is a process and achieving it requires an acceptance and respect of cultural and individual difference by all of us along with strong leadership. By having a RAP, this to me shows that Aurizon has a deep respect for the traditional owner's cultural diversity and gives aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander employee's a feeling of belonging and acceptance within our company. It also proves that the barriers between indigenous and non-indigenous people are truly starting to come down and we are closing the gap.
With the relationships Aurizon has been building on throughout communities, it has really brought a sense of commitment and with the implementation of the RAP in the future, the sense of family will follow. These are 2 extremely important values both to me and in the wider aboriginal and torre strait culture. This will be a long and hard road that we are embarking on, but the light at the end of the tunnel will be brilliant. Aurizon has really shone in the community through the community giving fund, the NAIDOC week celebrations and locally in Rockhampton and Redbank where the sites raised awareness of Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islanders on national reconciliation week. These are things that make me comfortable to bring my whole self to work and start to move away from having to walk in two worlds.
I'm also fortunate enough to have seen the direct impact that the pre-employment program has had with the very lucky and appreciative participants that were in Rockhampton. The life changing outcomes that this and other programs, which form the indigenous engagement and employment strategy, has had make me proud to be a part of Aurizon.
Not only does this plan look at employing Aboriginal and Torre Strait Islander people, it also looks to nurture and develop those of us who are currently employees. We are the lucky ones who will get to see the difference that these actions will make in the years to come.
I very much look forward to seeing the implementation of Aurizon seeking to potentially form partnerships with a range of customers to share information and learning on indigenous strategies to strengthen concepts and outcomes. The reason I like this action particularly is because there is more strength in numbers and the stronger we are now, the brighter all of our futures will be.
But at the end of the day the RAP is just that, a plan. And it gives me great hope that the differences this will make in 5 or 10 years will be better then all of us here today could have imagined. This journey will be one of those that we will look back on and be proud of the how far we have come.
I am very proud to be 1 of the 2 Aboriginal graduates who started this year, the other being my very close friend and colleague Karina Evans. I am proud to be a Darumbal woman, and on this particular day, I am proud to work for Aurizon.