The Women's and Children's Health Network acknowledges Aboriginal people as the First Peoples and Traditional Custodians of Country throughout South Australia. We acknowledge and respect their ongoing and deep spiritual connection and relationship to land, air, sea, waters, community and country. We pay our respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.
Reconciliation Week is recognised each year from the 27 March until 3 June and this year marks 20 years since the reconciliation walks in 2000 and shaping Australia's journey towards a more just, equitable and reconciled nation.
These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey, the successful 1967 referendum and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.
The 1967 referendum was historical, more than 90% of Australians voted 'yes' to changing the constitution to include Aboriginal people in the census and allow the Commonwealth to create laws for Aboriginal people. 3 June remembers the courageous efforts of Eddie Koiki Mabo and marks the anniversary of his historic High Court victory. Mr Mabo led the successful 10-year legal battle that challenged the narrative of terra nullius (land belonging to no-one) and to have his people’s ownership of their Mer Island homeland recognised.
Since then much has happened, including greater acknowledgement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander rights to land and sea; understanding of the impact of colonisation; past government policies and practices; and an embracing of stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander success and contribution.
Reconciliation has both symbolic and practical elements. A spirit of goodwill, mutual respect and recognition of the effects of colonisation on Australia’s first people are the symbolic cornerstones of the reconciliation effort. On the practical side, working towards an improved quality of life for Aboriginal people – particularly in areas such as health, education and employment – is essential for achieving equity for all South Australians.
The theme for 2020 is “In this together” to reflect that every Australian has a role to play when it comes to reconciliation and in collectively building relationships and communities that value Aboriginal people, history and culture.
As an Enabler, Reconciliation is a priority for the WCHN in ensuring we achieve our goal of making meaningful gains to Aboriginal Health and Wellbeing. The WCHN has come a long way in the past decade and will continue to build on our progress towards reconciliation. It is everyone's responsibility to build a spirit of goodwill, mutual respect and recognition of the effects of colonisation on Australia’s first people here at WCHN.
This year, events will be noticeably different with social distancing and public gathering restrictions in place due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, yet the theme is perhaps even more poignant.
We are committed to making our services more relevant, accessible, and culturally appropriate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This means strengthening our existing relationships and building new relationships with Aboriginal individuals, families and communities in closing the gap in Aboriginal life expectancy. This will ensure Aboriginal people share the same rights, respect and access to opportunities and benefits as all South Australians.
WCHN has a zero tolerance to racism and all staff are encouraged to recognise and appropriately respond to racism in the workplace.
There is much to celebrate in our reconciliation efforts so far, and we look toward our future as we continue our path to CREATE. Together.
The WCHN Reconciliation sub-Committee has recently evaluated our Reconciliation Action Plan The Past, The Present and The Future – An action plan for Reconciliation 2017 – 2020: Continuing our Journey; and is now working towards developing the 2021 – 2023 Reconciliation Action Plan.
We will do this by formally registering our intent to develop our next Reconciliation Action Plan with Reconciliation Australia.Â This is an opportunity to consolidate all of our actions and progress to date, which will include Reconciliation Australia’s required actions and deliverables. It is also an opportunity to develop a narrative of our vision for reconciliation.
View our Reconciliation Action Plan 2017 – 2020
last modified: 27 May 2020