What is Proposed?
The Reconciliation Council of Tasmania (RCT) is currently being planned ahead of its incorporation and launch on Wednesday 9th August 2017 – the United Nations Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (IDWIP). Tasmania is the only Australian State without a State based reconciliation group and this will bring our State into line with the rest of Australia – in much the same way as was done in late 2016 with recognition of the First Tasmanians in Tasmania’s constitution.
The Reconciliation Council of Tasmania is now undergoing a rigorous planning process involving a diverse group of Tasmanians keen to see true reconciliation happening in Tasmania for the benefit of all Tasmanians. This process will set the initial direction of RCT following inception. Soon after the working membership of RCT is established statewide, a review will be conducted by its members of the organisations initial direction and progress.
At this early planning stage, the following focus and activity base is being pursued, albeit likely to widen/change;
- Awareness raising of RCT’s imminent launch at political, indigenous and general community levels
- Building of relationship and support base at political, indigenous and general community levels
- Identification and commercial analysis of suitable potential income earning enterprise in the Indigenous sector
- Incorporation and registration of RCT as a registered ‘not for profit’ organisation
How will it work?
It is currently envisaged that the Reconciliation Council of Tasmania will be formed and immediately active after its proposed launch on IDWIP on 9th August 2017, as follows;
The Reconciliation Council of Tasmania (RCT) will be an incorporated, ‘not for profit’ organization with a focus on reconciliation between all Tasmanians, regardless of ethnicity. RCT will operate as follows;
- Statewide through regional groups based in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie/Devonport
- All regional groups will operate in a closely coordinated manner to ensure consistency statewide
- Each regional group will be led by local co-chairpersons, one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous who will also be inaugural Board Members of RCT
The Reconciliation Council of Tasmania will be an incorporated, ‘not for profit’ organization which, after inception, will seek to become largely self funded through income earning enterprise within the Indigenous Sector in Tasmania.
Notwithstanding, as an incorporated ‘not for profit’ organization, RCT will be structured to receive gifts and donations as well as government grants from time to time.
However, as noted above, RCT will seek to become self-supporting in its ongoing operations through enterprise within the Indigenous sector. Employment and personal development of First Tasmanians will be a key focus of these endeavours, especially for young Tasmanian Aboriginal people.
RCT relationships with other Indigenous Organisations
The Reconciliation Council of Tasmania will seek to build close and harmonious working relationships with all other Organisations active in the Indigenous Sector at the National, State/Territory and Tasmanian levels. This will include, but not be limited to;
- Reconciliation Australia – already cooperating closely through RA Board Member, Bill Lawson AM, who is personally coordinating the planning for RCT. RCT’s establishment has been endorsed by RA’s Board.
- Other State Reconciliation Councils – all five other Australian State Reconciliation Councils have already offered support and assistance to RCT as they are able both individually and through the Australian Reconciliation Network (ARN) which seeks to coordinate reconciliation activities nationwide. Once constituted, RCT has already been invited into full membership of ARN.
- Tasmanian Aboriginal Groups and Organisations – once incorporated, RCT will quickly seek to build open and meaningful relationships with all Tasmanian Aboriginal Community Groups and Organisations. This process has already commenced as part of planning for RCT’s establishment, with open two-way dialogue established with both the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre (TAC) and the Tasmanian Regional Aboriginal Communities Alliance (TRACA) as collective peak bodies in the Tasmanian Aboriginal sector.
Relationships with other Stakeholders
Once established, the Reconciliation Council of Tasmania, will seek to work collaboratively with other key Stakeholders in the Tasmanian Indigenous sector. This will include, but not be limited to;
- The Tasmanian State Government, at both the political and bureaucratic levels, across all portfolios, departments and instrumentalities
- Local Government, at both the collective (LGAT) and individual Council levels
- The Private Sector, at both the collective (TCCI) and individual business levels, both large and small
- Community Groups with an interest in the Indigenous Sector, including faith groups, sporting clubs/groups, lifestyle groups across all age groups
The time is right now in Tasmania for a State Reconciliation body. Our State needs to both face up to the truth about our past and move to heal the many divisions and distrust in the Indigenous space.
It is wrong that we are the only Australian State without a declared reconciliation agenda and organization dedicated to its pursuit – just is it was previously wrong for our constitution not to recognize our First peoples.
The Tasmanian Parliament has provided strong leadership in 2016 by recognizing the First Tasmanians in our State Constitution.
MONA’s widely applauded vision for the Macquarie Point development has as its centerpiece a large dedicated ‘Truth and Reconciliation’ space.
We need to act now in 2017 in a strong and genuine manner to right these wrongs and in so doing build a more honest and proud Tasmania.
What can I do to help?
All Tasmanians with an interest in reconciliation with First Tasmanians are encouraged to express their interest by adding their name and contact details to the Statewide ‘Expression of Interest’ Register at their local Council offices during Reconciliation Week between 27/5/17 and 3/6/17. Some Councils will be holding reconciliation celebrations during that week at which the EoI Register can be signed.
Alternatively, Tasmanians can express their interest by visiting www.rectas.com.au
Expressing interest will not commit anyone to anything other than an interest to receive information about Reconciliation Tasmania and its upcoming launch. Further details can be obtained from www.rectas.com.au