Cover of December AEU Journal  AEU SA Journal:  December 2021Contents

AEU gets a new RAP

We asked Cheryl Harris about the AEU’s new Reconciliation Action Plan launched this November.

This year consultation was completed on the AEU’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for 2022-23, and final approval has been received from Reconciliation Australia ready for its presentation to the AEU’s November Branch Council.

This RAP, which is based on Reconciliation Australia’s new Innovate template, is a complete rewrite of the inaugural RAP for 2019-20 adopted by Branch Council in 2018, which in itself represented two decades of increasing commitment by the SA Branch to Reconciliation since our first Reconciliation Conference in 1998.

Q. What did you want to change or improve on with the new RAP?

The original RAP was huge and there was so much in it that this time I think we need to be able to achieve outcomes within the lifetime of the document.

I love that this RAP has included small things to ensure that Reconciliation is at the forefront of what we as a union do in our daily operations. Using Kaurna in our addresses, having different Areas do the Acknowledgement to Country for Branch Council, for example.

Q. It seems to be focussed first on internal changes, such as a procurement policy favouring Aboriginal services, while also looking at system-wide issues in public education. Is that a fair assessment?

Yes, Reconciliation needs to be imbedded in our lives and operations of our business if true Reconciliation is to happen, rather than a tick-off list of tasks.

Q. What should members do to promote Reconciliation at their sites?

 It is important that we all strive towards understanding and accepting the past and using Reconciliation as a pathway to ensuring we live and work in true harmony and acceptance.

The next step is for schools to write a RAP for their sites and share the successes with the AEU.

Cheryl Harris, an AEU member and Aboriginal Education Teacher from Port Lincoln, was a member of the RAP Working Parties for both the old and new RAP.