Endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, this Reconciliation Action Plan is Council’s commitment to supporting the reconciliation process and closing the gap in disadvantage between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.
It encourages greater understanding, acknowledgement, respect, inclusion and opportunities for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of this region and it ensures that Councillors, staff and members of the community are able to contribute to the reconciliation process.
The Reconciliation Action Plan is an important tool in creating respectful communities, social inclusion and equality, and strengthening the ability of Ballarat to be a safe, healthy, connected and respectful place to live.
Congratulations and thank you to those who put this Plan together – City of Ballarat staff, RAP working group, Koorie Engagement Action Group as well as members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and wider community.
The City of Ballarat’s approach to reconciliation is one of leadership and collaboration. We encourage all Ballarat businesses and community members to ensure their events, programs and processes have a culture of inclusiveness as well as celebration.
The Unfinished Business Advisory Committee (UBAC) was established in 2003 as an informal working group to enhance the opportunities for indigenous residents of Ballarat, to contribute, participate and benefit from Ballarat's community life.
Relaunched in 2006, Council established UBAC as an Advisory Committee to Council with fixed membership to be appointed by Council. The relaunch provided Council with an opportunity to confirm its commitment to indigenous reconciliation by creating a formal relationship through a reconstituted committee.
Since 2006 there have been some notable achievements including:
The 'Welcome to Country' signage project
The Windmill Playground initiative
Acknowledgement of traditional owners at Council meetings and Civic receptions.
Over the last six months Council has worked with the local indigenous community on identifying a number of community issues and priorities as part of a Reconciliation Strategy review process. A central theme of the feedback provided was that UBAC is not representative of the local indigenous community and the Committee needs to operate within a different context.
At the UBAC meeting on 16 February 2010, the Committee unanimously endorsed a proposal to re-develop the group as the Koorie Engagement Action Group. The working group remains as an Advisory Committee to Council. Membership of the group is through a bi-annual Expression of Interest process and includes significant Indigenous representation.
Major objectives of the KEAG are to:
Advise the City of Ballarat on matters of engagement for Koorie people in the region (not including cultural heritage issues);
Oversee the implementation of Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2011-2013;
Enhance and promote understanding within the Ballarat community of Koorie culture, society and heritage;
Identify issues affecting the health and wellbeing of Koorie people and develop responses in collaboration with key partners, agencies and other tiers of government;
Influence change processes in agencies providing services to Koorie people to assist in building cultural sensitivity and service integration that facilitates greater responsiveness to the needs of Koorie people;
Advocate for and support key elements of the existing current service and support infrastructure in Ballarat for Koorie people.
The role of Committee members is to:
Develop the Ballarat community’s level of awareness of Koorie issues;
Celebrate Koorie culture through community events;
Enhancing the cultural activities that already exist;
Work with children and youth groups;
Inform committee of issues impacting on the health and wellbeing of Koorie people living in Ballarat;
Work collaboratively with other KEAG members and their agencies to seek resolution of issues and seek opportunities to deliver real improvements in the health and wellbeing of Koorie people living in Ballarat;
Inform Committee of member agency activities and upcoming opportunities to progress Koorie health and wellbeing within Ballarat.
Attend monthly meetings, or appoint a ‘proxy’ member to attend on their behalf.
Co-Chaired by a City of Ballarat Councillor, the Koorie Engagement Action Group has a fixed membership, appointed on the recommendation of existing committee members.