Walking and working together on Country
The North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA) has cemented itself as a regional leader in genuine reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by launching its first Reconciliation Action Plan.
The north central catchment includes the traditional land of the Barapa Barapa, Dja Dja Wurrung, Taungurung, Wadi Wadi, Wamba Wamba, Wotjobaluk represented by the Barengi Gadjin Land Council, and Yorta Yorta.
The Reconciliation Action Plan acknowledges the tragic history of colonisation and damaging policies of the past, and the need to adopt actions to address systemic racism and bring about restorative justice.
The RAP will provide an operational action plan that is respectful; one that guides the organisation and contributes to improving cultural safety and compliant behaviour.
North Central CMA Chair Julie Miller Markoff said the Plan is a key part of the organisation’s commitment to creating a fairer future.
“Our Plan provides a clear and practical pathway towards our vision of walking alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as partners, caring for our region’s catchments together,” she said.
“Traditional Owners of the region have been the custodians of the land and water for thousands of generations; sustaining health through careful management informed by a deep knowledge of the flora, the fauna, and the seasons.
“We have much to learn from Traditional Owner perspectives in caring for Country.
“Our learning recognises the injustices of the past and seeks to build on the positive steps we have taken on our journey of reconciliation so far.”
Ms Miller Markoff said the Plan commits the CMA to actions that recognise the ongoing connection Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have with Country and tangible measures towards restorative justice.
“It is our aim that exceptional leadership and practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement becomes a routine part of how we do business and a guide for others,” she said.
“I sincerely thank the unique Traditional Owner and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations of our region who generously offered advice and guidance to assist us develop this Reconciliation Action Plan.
“This will ensure actions are locally relevant, shaped by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in caring for Country and importantly contribute to the lasting changes needed to bring about a fair future.”
Dja Dja Wurrung and Yorta Yorta elder, and North Central CMA board member, Graham Atkinson said the Plan is ground breaking.
“The launch of this Reconciliation Action Plan represents an outstanding achievement of the Board, management and staff who worked diligently on developing this ground-breaking Plan,” he said.
“I particularly commend the CMA's Reconciliation Working Group for its engagement with the region's Traditional Owner groups and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, many of whom contributed towards shaping the Plan.
“The CMA has delivered an innovative and comprehensive RAP that will provide opportunities to strengthen staff cultural competencies, and offer employment, training, education and recognition opportunities.
“Over the next two years the North Central MA will play a key leadership role in walking and working together on Country with Traditional Owners, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations in mutually respectful ways to care for and manage country together.”