Our vision for reconciliation

Indigenous Australia, Blogs article written on the 02 Jun 2014

Photo: Lara McKinley
Juan M


“I’m proud to work for an organisation that holds the mirror up to itself and questions its practice of working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. The challenge we all face is ensuring that we are accountable and live our values with honesty. The RAP gives us a measure by which we can do this. I’m proud that Oxfam Australia is willing to step up and live its values — and that I can have an impact on that as a Oxfammer.” Peter Nathan, Youth and Self-Determination Programs Coordinator

Oxfam Australia believes that reconciliation is critical to achieving a just world without poverty.

We recognise that since colonisation, successive government policies have systematically disadvantaged and marginalised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People. They remain the most significantly disadvantaged group in Australia, disproportionately affected by poverty, unemployment, chronic illness, disability, lower life expectancy and high levels of incarceration.

As one of the first organisations invited to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2006, we’re committed to working in a respectful way with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and communities to realise their rights.

Oxfam Australia affirms the special place and identity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as the First Australians by:

  • Recognising Aboriginal culture and history, along with its diverse and dynamic nature.
  • Acknowledging the deep connections with and custodianship of the land since time immemorial.
  • Valuing the contributions Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People make to Australian culture and society.
  • Honouring their resilience and strength.
  • Valuing the opportunity to learn from them.
  • Recognising that in order to influence the policies and practices of government and other decision makers, there must be multi-layered action at local, regional, state, national and international levels.
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“Sometimes it’s hard to feel inspired when there is so much change to be made. When you can see the commitment not just of Oxfam as an organisation, but of all the individual people who make up the organisation, you are reminded it’s possible to make things different. Working in solidarity can be really powerful. We are a strong and resilient people and deep down, I feel hopeful that things are getting better for our mob.” Karrina Nolan, National Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ Program

Our steps towards Reconciliation

We’re working towards a world where peoples’ human rights are respected and they have a sense of self-determination in their lives. Our commitment has seen us working with communities for more than 30 years.

Our current goals:

  • Collaborating with other agencies on the Close the Gap campaign to level life expectancy in Australia in the next 25 years.
  • Campaigning and advocating for Indigenous rights, and the acknowledgement of those rights by the public and government.
  • Working with communities and individuals towards self-determination, and a resilient and self-defined identity.
  • Ensuring our own organisation, staff and volunteers actively participate in reconciliation through our policies, processes and actions.

Australians will know we are truly reconciled when the past is no longer a barrier to forming relationships of friendship and trust. We must all play an active part in working towards this vision.

To learn what we’re doing for reconciliation, read Oxfam Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2014 – 2016.

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