To coincide with National Reconciliation Week, this morning the Minister for Regional Development, Skills and Small Business, The Hon John Barilaro MP, delivered the key note address as part of the official launch of TAFE Western’s Reconciliation Action Plan.
Minister Barilaro described the importance of reconciliation for people across Australia and spoke about the need for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
Institute Director Kate Baxter, the moving force behind TAFE Western’s Reconciliation Action Plan, began her speech by acknowledging that TAFE Western stands on the lands of the Wiradjuri, Gamilaraay, Ngemba, Muruwari, Barkindji, Wailwan, Wangaaybuwan, Wangamurra, and Yuwaalaraay Peoples. She acknowledged that Aboriginal peoples are the Traditional Custodians of these lands.
Quoting from the RAP she said, “We recognise the unique, rich and continuous cultures of Aboriginal peoples, the oldest living cultures. TAFE Western recognises the strength, resilience and capacity of Aboriginal peoples and respects Aboriginal Elders past and present. We also acknowledge Torres Strait Islander People, as we do all other peoples, and we acknowledge and pay our respect to our Torres Strait Islander colleagues and students at TAFE Western.”
TAFE Western is the first TAFE NSW Institute to have a stretch RAP approved by Reconciliation Australia.
The five key objectives identified in the RAP are to improve:
- Access to education and training for Aboriginal peoples;
- Literacy and numeracy of our Aboriginal students;
- Education and employment outcomes of our Aboriginal students;
- Completion of qualifications by our Aboriginal students; and
- The careers of our Aboriginal staff.
The RAP was launched across 25 college sites simultaneously through video conference. I am very proud to have worked on this project supporting Wiradjuri Elder and Director of Aboriginal Education Rod Towney. And I was delighted to join in the festivities, along with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Peoples right across Western New South Wales.