Sunday, 13 June 2010

Reconciliation Victoria: plans and a project

Reconcilation Victoria has been through many vicissitudes in recent times. Won't go into that here - but it appears there is movement at the station and news of doings. Onya folks.


Improved reconciliation outcomes in local government

Reconciliation Victoria has been funded to undertake a pilot project to improve reconciliation outcomes in local government through developing reconciliation plans.  The project is in partnership with Reconciliation Australia and the Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA).

The project is part of RecVic's long-term strategy to work with Victorian communities to develop a Victorian Reconciliation Framework.  The framework will place reconciliation as part of a 'respect agenda' and social inclusion, and bring cohesion to initiatives aimed at Closing the Gap.

Local government has responsibility to build community for all Victorians including Aboriginal.  Some local councils have not fully taken up this responsibility.  Preliminary research undertaken for Reconciliation Victoria indicates wide variation in local government engagement with reconciliation:
  • about 20 local councils - early adopters - are in a second phase of reconciliation, reflecting on or reviewing earlier reconciliation plans;
  • about 20 local councils - late adopters - have recently or will soon implement reconciliation plans or activities;
  • the remaining 40 local councils have no web-based evidence of reconciliation activities and some may be resistant to change.
The Australian Reconciliation Barometer (Reconciliation Australia[1]) indicated that Australians want reconciliation to work but often do not know what to do to bring it about.  Our project will provide practical support to local government in knowing what to do. 

The project is funded until December 2010 and will work with several local councils at different levels of engagement with reconciliation plans (locations to be decided) to describe their processes in developing reconciliation plans.  It is a pilot for a bigger project (funding being sought) to cover all local councils over four years. 

The project will support local councils to develop reconciliation plans by providing professional development and assistance with processes, protocols and contacts.  It will also assist local government in the following Victorian government policy areas:
  • Aboriginal heritage: building a better understanding and appreciation of Victoria’s rich Aboriginal heritage and Victorian Aboriginal Heritage Act;
  • New representative arrangements: brokering relationships with new representative arrangements (LINs and RINs); and
  • Closing the gap: improving capability to implement Closing the Gap strategies.

Subject to additional funding the project will communicate reconciliation messages and encourage local reconciliation events during 2011 National Reconciliation Week. 

The pilot project will deliver:
  • reconciliation plans for several local councils;
  • a draft framework and support material guide to assist local councils engage with, and develop, reconciliation plans;
  • a network of interested individuals, local councils and reconciliation groups as a basis for future work; and
  • a report to government on barriers, opportunities and a proposal to expand the project statewide.


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