Reconciliation in action: our commitment and journey
I’d like to start this blog by acknowledging the Traditional Custodians of the land upon which we gather and do work across Australia. I pay my respects to their Elders, past, present and future, especially those within our business.
While it may seem like a small gesture, this ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ is just one way we are acting on our commitment to reconciliation here at NBN Co.
We encourage our employees to start every meeting this way.
Wherever they are across the country – whether in Perth paying their respects to the Noongar people, on the Gold Coast (the Yugambeh people), or Canberra (the Ngunnawal people), this simple – but meaningful – practice helps to remind us about the role we each play in contributing to the success of our First Peoples Initiative and Reconciliation Action Plan.
The nbn™ Reconciliation Action Plan
Our current and third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was launched in October 2018.
nbn™ Reconciliation Action Plan – October 2018 to September 2020 builds on the learnings, efforts and achievements from our first (launched in 2013) and second (2015) RAPs.
In this, NAIDOC Week, it seems a fitting time to share how we’re tracking against our vision for reconciliation: to see the rollout of the nbn™ broadband access network enhance two-way meaningful engagement, understanding and connection between First Peoples communities and broader Australian society and communities.
Working with WillPOWER
Focused on helping children to stay engaged in school and finish their secondary education, the program includes in-school activities, a mixture of school visits and remote video conferencing with Port Adelaide players, and football carnivals as a reward for attending school.
Eleven enthusiastic employees from NBN Co volunteered at the carnival last October. This followed our earlier successful collaboration to develop a cyber security education module for the WillPOWER program.
The module was delivered to 500 children across 27 remote schools in the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (APY) and Maralinga Lands of South Australia, and the Barkly Region of the Northern Territory.
Designed for First Peoples students in years 5 to 9, the module aimed to help students understand how they can use the internet safely and have positive experiences online.
Based on the Office of the eSafety Commissioner’s ‘Be Deadly Online’ resources, it was also complemented by a Teacher’s Guide.
Returning First Peoples artefacts to Heathcote
Earlier this year, in March, we were able to return some culturally significant artefacts to their rightful place in Heathcote, Victoria.
Shane Monk, a Taungurung man, performed a traditional Aboriginal smoking ceremony as part of the reburial process for the artefacts, which were found during the planning and design phase of the nbn™ access network rollout.
Forty artefacts across four different sites were found during archaeological excavations, which form part of our Cultural Heritage Management Plan for this site.
A similar ceremony had already been held in Bright, also in Victoria.
Educating our workforce
Last month, we were proud to launch ‘Continuing the Journey’, the second module in our online Reconciliation Awareness Training for employees.
And it had rather large shoes to fill.
In June 2018, NBN Co won a platinum award for the first module in the Best Bespoke/Custom Model category at the LearnX Impact Awards.
Justin Forsell, Executive Sponsor of NBN Co’s First Peoples Pillar and our Chief Legal Counsel says, “I am really passionate about our Reconciliation Action Plan and educating employees about how we are engaging with our First People community.
“I’m proud to say that the RAP online learning module did this in a highly innovative way. It leaves no doubt about our commitment to recognition and respect of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture in the way we do business.”
Plus, some other highlights from across our three RAPs:
Record attendance by NBN Co employees at the Supply Connect trade show, which showcased potential businesses to engage and increase our investment in First Peoples suppliers.
Securing an Indigenous applicant for our most recent Field Technician Traineeship intake, who’s currently progressing through the 18-month program.
Visiting the APY Lands to listen and learn how online services can benefit the most remote and unconnected communities in the country.
Elders perform ‘Welcome to Country’ at majority of our employee roadshows, held annually around the country for team members.
Engaging with the Traditional Custodians of Broome, the Yawuru people, at the start of construction in the area, which included employing some of the local community.
While you can be sure that more has been happening towards our RAP objectives than we’ve mentioned above – both behind-the-scenes and out-and-about in the community – you can also be sure that there’s plenty more to come.
We look forward to sharing more with you again soon as we continue our journey to reconciliation.