Celebrating Reconciliation at Mungalla Station

On Nywaigi Country at Mungalla Station near Townsville, people gathered from across the continent to celebrate and reflect on Greening Australia’s commitment to reconciliation.

The event brought key stakeholders together to launch Greening Australia’s first Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). With representatives from Greening Australia’s Thriving on Country Committee, Board, Executive team, RAP Working Group, Reef Aid team and special guests from Reef Aid projects, the day was filled with on-ground cultural learning, yarning and a wetland tour.

Participants at the RAP Launch join a yarning circle led by Thriving on Country Committee Co-Chairs Scott Anderson and James Atkins. Photo credit Colyn Huber.

Ian Rollins, Chief Operating Officer at Greening Australia, said that the RAP marks an important step in the organisation’s commitment to a reconciled Australia and its overarching vision and mission:

“At the core of our RAP is strong relationships with people and Country. Greening Australia does not want to continue tackling the complex challenges we face as a society with a business-as-usual approach, because we know this won’t be enough.

“We’re looking forward to walking hand in hand with our First Nations partners, learning and growing with one another, into a future where healthy and productive landscapes enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Communities, Cultures and enterprise to thrive on Country.”

The RAP Launch was set against the stunning backdrop of Mungalla Station, steeped in culture, brimming with life and encompassing 230 hectares of wetlands. Photo credit Colyn Huber.

The RAP Launch provided an opportunity for Greening Australia’s newly formed Thriving on Country Committee to meet Greening Australia team members in person for the first time. This committee of the Greening Australia Board will help guide the organisation through the implementation of the RAP, based on the deep and varied knowledge of its members.

Scott Anderson, Thriving on Country Committee Co-Chair, reflected on the importance of embedding First Nations peoples’ voices and experiences into the RAP and the entire implementation process in a meaningful and considerate way:

“Restoring Country is an important part of who we are as First Nations peoples; it determines our identity and provides so much more than just a place to exist. We are really motivated and thrilled to be supporting Greening Australia to implement this RAP, where we can champion our diverse ways of knowing and millennia-old experience in caring for Country as we work together to create healthy people and healthy Country, for the benefit of all.”

Members of Greening Australia’s Thriving on Country Committee at the RAP Launch. From left to right: Sian Gillam, a Walman Ywauru woman, Kieran Gibbs, a Kooma and Githabul man, James Atkins (Greening Australia Chair), Scott Anderson, a Birriah and Nywaigi man, Karen Jacobs, a Whadjuk Noongar woman and Dave Mangenner Gough, a Trawlwoolway man. (Absent: Elizabeth McEntyre, a Worimi and Wonnarua woman). Photo credit Colyn Huber.

A Reconciliation Action Plan is a formalised document developed in collaboration with Reconciliation Australia that can help organisations sustainably and strategically take meaningful action to advance reconciliation.

There are four types of RAPs (Reflect, Innovate, Stretch, Elevate), providing organisations with a structured approach based on where they are in their reconciliation journey. Greening Australia’s Innovate RAP recognises the organisation’s priorities to progress the following throughout the life of its 2021-2023 RAP:

  • develop and strengthen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • engage staff and stakeholders in reconciliation; and
  • develop and pilot innovative strategies to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples.

Brendan Foran, CEO of Greening Australia, said the RAP launch is an exciting milestone in the organisation’s 40 year history:

“Greening Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan marks an important step, a commitment to continually seek greater understanding, change our ways, and make a more meaningful contribution to reconciliation through our people, work and influence.

“For true reconciliation it is essential for all Australians to recognise the pivotal roles and responsibilities that First Nations people had living within this Country in the past, have now in the present, and must have in the future.”

Read the RAP