Beyond the RAP – what does it really take to live reconciliation?

At the end of October, RFW launched its Innovate RAP for the next two years - August 2023 to August 2025.

To acknowledge this landmark in our Reconciliation Journey we invited a distinguished panel to discuss burning and topical questions around Reconciliation. The panel included Jacqueline Emery, CEO and members of the RFW Indigenous Advisory Group (Lana Kelly, Aboriginal Workforce Manager, HealthShare NSW, Caroline Glass-Pattison, Aboriginal Education Officer, Royal Far West School and Pauline Bielefeld, artist and grandmother) who agreed to come along and participate in a deep and meaningful conversation inspired by questions such as:

  • What does reconciliation mean to you?
  • What is RFW doing to foster the culture change needed to ensure that reconciliation is not just a tick box exercise?
  • How are we making reconciliation part of RFW’s DNA?
  • How will implementing culturally responsive services through reconciliation make a difference to health outcomes of First Nations children?

We also had an in-depth discussion on truth telling and Royal Far West’s provision of service to children from the stolen generation. Anna Bowden, Head of Social Impact at RFW explained to the audience “Being culturally responsive is knowing, being and doing. RFW is keen to build our capability around these dimensions of reconciliation. Innovate builds on our Reflect RAP and provides a step-by-step framework to ensure the principles and actions of RFW will apply to lead to a more culturally responsive workforce and create a more culturally responsive environment for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community partners and families”.

Guests who attended the event shared their thoughts and key takeouts from the night:
  • Walking along side remains an important guiding principle for us
  • Reconcilaction vs reconciliation. It must be more about what we do vs what we say
  • Deep listening is what is required now
  • Jacqui discussing RFW’s history and journey of discovery and now truth-telling with Stolen Generation involvement was an uncomfortable topic. However, it is good that this information is now publicly available, and we are taking responsibility.
  • Centenary as a term has negative connotations for First Nations people. We should consider a change to our “centenary” planning
Key takeaways were:
  • Walk together; Ask the question and listen; Love and trust
  • Importance of words being reflected by actions
  • Importance of acknowledging and being genuinely sorry about the RFW past actions that have hurt others.
  • Importance of being mindful of language, and making changes in response to feedback, including a check before we proceed too far with certain language e.g. centenary


Read more about our Innovate RAP