nbn’s vision for reconciliation is to be deeply engaged and connected with First Nations cultures and aspirations for digital inclusion.
At nbn, we recognise the important role the company plays in driving digital capability in partnership with First Nations people and in exploring how this can help enable social and economic benefits for communities.
We acknowledge that our role extends beyond just connectivity, and that we must also support culturally safe and appropriate use of technology, expand our employment and business pathways with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and continue to amplify the success of community-led programs and solutions.
Our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) launched in 2013. Although it was still early in our journey as a business, it was an important step – and one we were determined to take.
Three years later we launched our second RAP with the purpose of embedding the values of Reconciliation into the way we operate. Our goal was to help ensure Australia’s First Nations people had (and continue to have) opportunities to participate in the rollout and potential benefits of the nbn® network.
Our third RAP, introduced in October 2018, had an increased emphasis on community engagement, building and encouraging collaboration, increasing employment and procurement opportunities and lifting the digital capability of all Australians.
Our fourth RAP launched in November 2020 and had a strong emphasis on connecting communities safely and increasing our internal engagement with First Nations cultures and aspirations for digital inclusion. Additionally, we have maintained a targeted focus on developing partnerships and opportunities to support First Nations females in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) as well as entrepreneurs.
nbn's fifth RAP, launched in May 2023, sees us pursuing our vision for reconciliation through a continued focus on increased connectivity for First Nations communities, and deepening our relationships and partnerships with First Nations communities and organisations to increase digital inclusion. We will also drive increased employment opportunities for First Nations job seekers, and meaningful and sustainable engagement across our supply chain for First Nations-owned businesses.
Since launching our first RAP, we have accomplished achievements including:
- Deploying more than 100 community Wi-Fi solutions across the country, between June 2020 and November 2022 to support First Nations communities as part of our COVID-19 response.
- Working with Queensland Police to deploy emergency communication services at seven vehicle checkpoints, supporting the safety of First Nations communities placed in lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Collaborating with key government and peak industry bodies to improve telehealth capabilities and digital health participation along with improved connectivity and digital capability for indigenous arts centres.
- Implementing Cultural Heritage procedures in the design and build of the nbn network to respect and protect places and sites of significance.
- Establishing a large team of regionally based and department-diverse leaders to guide the implementation of our RAP, while also creating excitement and encouraging involvement in First Nations initiatives and events.
- Ensuring our Delivery Partners were part of our RAP journey by implementing Participation and Engagement Management Plans that set targets for employment and First Nations Business spend.
- Ensuring a consistent approach utilising the First Nations Cultural Heritage protocols.
- Delivering nbn Reconciliation Awareness training to more than 70 per cent of our employees.
- Introducing Welcome to Country at significant events.
- Introducing Acknowledgement of Country to internal and external meetings throughout Australia.
- Focusing on our partnership with Supply Nation to help increase procurement spend with listed Indigenous Suppliers.
- Establishing relationships with First Nations organisations and communities including Career Trackers, and the Melythina Tiakana Warrana Aboriginal Corporation and its communities.
- Partnering with Jawun to provide 15 secondees to First Nations organisations, delivering additional skilled resourcing in North-East Arnhem Land, East Kimberly and Central Australia. This equates to around 90 weeks of secondment contributions made so far, and we look forward to building on this.
- Reviewing our policies and procedures to reduce any barriers to recruiting or retaining First Nations employees. We have tailored our recruitment channels to attract more First Nations candidates.
- Ensuring our volunteering policies have no barriers to First Nations volunteer activities or participation in community events such as NAIDOC week.
- Establishing our First Nations community – Liakukana. This word means ‘waterfall’ and embodies the sentiment of a ripple effect. This name was gifted to us by the Melythina Tiakana Warrana Aboriginal Corporation and numerous other affiliated Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Communities Alliance (TRACA) organisations.
- Visiting more First Nations communities to understand their needs. In doing this we are looking at the development of technical and product solutions to help meet those needs.
- Continuing our Internship program in partnership with CareerTrackers. We look to link the internship to nbn graduate and scholarship programs to facilitate First Nations' participation.
- Delivering nbn Reconciliation Awareness training – Our Continued Journey, our second module, to the business.
- Delivering Cyber Safety awareness in the Northern Territory and South Australia in partnership with local stakeholders and with a focus on ensuring culturally appropriate education.
As part of our fifth RAP, we will continue to focus on:
- Contributing to Target 17 of the Closing the Gap Report (2022), centered on providing equitable access and improving digital inclusion for First Nations people
- Growing our relationships and meaningful partnerships with key First Nations stakeholders
- Continuing to support Community Wi-Fi solutions in connected communities during the term of this RAP, and exploring opportunities to expand
- Increasing First Nations recruitment and retention
- Improving nbn’s spend opportunities with First Nations suppliers
These initiatives allow us to continue our reconciliation journey, proudly building on our previous Reconciliation Action Plans (RAP) and focuses on the areas we believe will make the biggest difference.