Reconciliation Action Plan

We want to be an organisation that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people trust and are willing to approach. Our Reconciliation Action Plan sets out actions we are taking to establish respectful relationships.

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In 2017, the Victorian Ombudsman launched her office's first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

The RAP is about building foundations for relationships, respect and opportunities.

You can read the 2017 RAP below. We are developing our next RAP, and will publish it on this page when it is finalised.

Gathering Strength to Make Change - Garry Scott

Message from Reconciliation Australia CEO

Reconciliation Australia congratulates the Victorian Ombudsman on the endorsement of its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which will build the foundations for the relationships, respect and opportunities essential to reconciliation.

This Reflect RAP will assist the Victorian Ombudsman to develop a solid RAP governance model and build the business case for future commitments to cultural learning, practising cultural protocols, and promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment.

In its first RAP, the Victorian Ombudsman has demonstrated a keen commitment to develop and strengthen relationships with key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations. We see this in the Victorian Ombudsman’s commitment to promote and celebrate community events such as National Reconciliation Week (NRW) on an internal and external level.

Commitment to showing respect and understanding for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, histories and cultures is demonstrated in the Victorian Ombudsman’s RAP through its actionable goal to introduce staff to NAIDOC week by promoting events in the local area, and ensuring members of the RAP Working Group participate in an external NAIDOC week event.

The Victorian Ombudsman’s dedication to providing opportunities and employment pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is communicated through the actionable items in its RAP, such as its commitment to developing a business case for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment within their organisation, which includes scoping relevant graduate programs, youth employment schemes and employing an Aboriginal Liaison Officer.

On behalf of Reconciliation Australia, I commend the Victorian Ombudsman on its Reflect RAP and look forward to following its ongoing reconciliation journey.

Justin Mohamed signature

Justin Mohamed
Chief Executive Officer
Reconciliation Australia

Message from the Ombudsman

The Ombudsman provides a free, fair and independent service for people who have a complaint about a state or local government agency in Victoria. Historically, Parliamentary Ombudsmen exist to address the imbalance of power between the individual and the state, offering assistance to those affected by the administrative power of the state.

My vision for the office is to see a timely and fair system that is accessible to and understood by all. Yet many Victorians are not aware of the Ombudsman’s services, and do not know how to access them or what to expect if they do.

This is particularly apparent among socially excluded groups – all too often, those with the greatest need for Ombudsman services are the least likely to use them. Addressing this and making the office much more accessible is a central aspect of my vision.

Historically, the Ombudsman has not focussed on engaging with or understanding issues of particular concern to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. As a result, we receive few complaints from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and carry out few investigations into issues directly affecting them. I want that to change. Developing this Reconciliation Action Plan is a recognition that meaningful engagement with our First Peoples is a priority for the office.

I recognise that this is a long term commitment, and this document is only the beginning of the Ombudsman’s reconciliation journey.

Deborah Glass signature

Deborah Glass OBE
Ombudsman

Our vision

We want to be an organisation that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples trust and are willing to approach.

The Victorian Ombudsman’s vision for reconciliation is to develop respectful and mutually beneficial relationships with Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations. Through building relationships, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Victoria and across Australia. In doing this, we anticipate an increase in contact from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and to be able to improve the quality of our services.

The more complaints we receive from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the more we will understand where services in the public sector need to improve.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan

The development of our RAP recognises and formalises our commitment to engage with Victorian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and converts existing goodwill in the office into action.

In 2016, we rolled out cultural awareness training for all staff in the office. We want to understand barriers to accessing our services for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and enable our staff to provide a culturally appropriate and effective service to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We have established relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations including the Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-op in Shepparton and a number of peak bodies in Melbourne.

A number of organisations were involved in the development of our RAP, including Reconciliation Australia, Reconciliation Victoria and Native Title Services Victoria.

We have formed an internal working group to develop and implement our RAP. The group is chaired by the Ombudsman and includes senior staff from across the office.

Our current activities

In 2015, we investigated and reported on the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Victoria’s prisons. This led to changes in the law that allowed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our prisons who made art to sell their art and retain the proceeds.

We have since purchased a number of artworks from The Torch, an organisation that delivers art programs to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in prisons, helping them sell their work.

Native Title Services Victoria and Reconciliation Victoria reviewed our RAP prior to its submission to Reconciliation Australia.

Artist Jeffrey Jackson and family

Internal activities and initiatives

Deborah Glass and Daryl Sloan looking at scar trees near Shepparton

The Ombudsman met with representatives of the Rumbalara Aboriginal Co-op. In October 2016 she presented to the Elders’ Council then accompanied Advocacy Program Manager and Aboriginal Advocate, Daryl Sloan on a tour of the local Shepparton region.

We organised a guest speaker to attend our all staff meeting during National Reconciliation Week, and hosted a morning tea for all staff that included a number of items cooked with native ingredients.

Daily email bulletins were sent to staff throughout National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC week providing information about the significance of the dates and offering ideas for involvement.

A number of staff attended NAIDOC week events including the flag raising ceremony at Federation Square, the Melbourne march and an art exhibition launch at the Melbourne Museum’s Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Centre.

Meeting and project rooms at our new office have been named using words approved by the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages.

Names of meeting rooms and acknowledgement plaque at the new Victorian Ombudsman office

The move to the new office was celebrated with a Welcome to Country by Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri elders.

Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri elders Arweet Carolyn Briggs and Aunty Di Kerr

Relationships

Action Deliverable Timeline
1. RAP Working Group (RWG) actively monitors RAP development and implementation of actions, tracking progress and reporting Form a RWG that is operational to support the development of our RAP, comprising of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and decision-making staff from across our organisation Reviewed in March 2017
Engage our senior leaders in the delivery of our RAP outcomes through appointing senior staff to the RWG Reviewed in March 2017
RWG oversees the development, endorsement and launch of the RAP March 2017
Ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are represented on the RWG September 2017
Meet at least twice per year to monitor and report on RAP implementation December 2017
Establish Terms of Reference for the RWG Reviewed in March 2017
2. Develop and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations to support positive outcomes Develop a list of RAP organisations and other like-minded organisations that we could approach to connect with on our reconciliation journey March 2017
Develop and implement an engagement plan to work with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders December 2017
Meet with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations to develop guiding principles for future engagement June 2017
Meet with key identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, the work of which intersects/ aligns with this office September 2017
3. Participate in and celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW) Encourage our staff to attend a NRW event May 2017
Circulate Reconciliation Australia’s NRW resources and reconciliation materials to our staff May and June 2017
Organise a guest speaker for the June all staff meeting June 2017
Ensure our RWG participates in an external event to recognise and celebrate NRW June 2017
4. Raise and maintain high levels of internal awareness of our RAP Develop and implement a plan to raise awareness among all staff across the organisation about our RAP commitments April 2017
Develop and implement a plan to engage and inform key internal stakeholders of their responsibilities within our RAP April 2017
Implement a rolling agenda item for all staff meetings to provide an update on the implementation of the RAP March 2017
Make reference to the RAP in senior managers’ Performance Development Plan July 2017
5. Launch our RAP Publicise the launch of our RAP on social media and our website March 2017
Re-engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples involved in the development of our RAP to discuss the journey March 2017
Hold an event internally to launch the RAP March 2017
Consider other opportunities to launch the RAP March 2017

Respect

Action Deliverable Timeline
6. Investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural learning and development Capture data and measure our staff’s current level of knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievement December 2017
Build and maintain staff awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements by providing training to all new staff and embedding training as a core part of the Learning and Development program July 2017
Identify future opportunities for training by:
  • Conducting a review of cultural awareness training needs within our organisation
  • Investigating cultural immersion programs.
December 2017
7. Participate in and celebrate NAIDOC Week Raise awareness and share information amongst our
staff of the meaning of NAIDOC Week which includes information about the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities
July 2017
Introduce our staff to NAIDOC Week by promoting community events in our local area July 2017
Ensure our RWG participates in an external NAIDOC Week event. July 2017
8. Raise internal understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural protocols Explore who the Traditional Custodians are of the lands and waters in our local area September 2017
Scope and develop a list of local Traditional Custodians of the lands and waters within our organisation’s sphere of influence September 2017
Develop and implement a plan to raise awareness and understanding of the meaning and significance behind Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country protocols (including any local cultural protocols) March 2017
Incorporate acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians in staff email signature blocks January 2017
Incorporate acknowledgement of Traditional Custodians on website and in other external communication. March 2017
9. Use the relocation to new premises as an opportunity to support the vision of the RAP In consultation, name key meeting rooms using appropriate terminology drawn from local language Reviewed in April 2017
Produce and display an Acknowledgement of Country plaque in the reception area of the new office Reviewed in April 2017
Incorporate a Welcome to Country to the first all staff meeting at the new location Reviewed in April 2017
Purchase and display artwork for the new premises. Reviewed in April 2017
10. Increase staff awareness of current issues for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Develop a unique intranet page dedicated to information about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues, including a link to Reconciliation Australia’s ‘Share Our Pride’ online tool and other internally relevant materials July 2017
Regularly distribute materials and information about relevant events and initiatives, including auto-populating key dates in staff calendars. December 2017
11. Use the implementation of the Early Resolution Team (first point of contact for the public) to support enhanced engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples Support Early Resolution Team staff members to respond to enquiries in a culturally sensitive way September 2017
Consider how demographic data can be gathered at first contact with this office July 2017
12. Develop culturally relevant engagement
materials to embed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into our service delivery
Develop a consultation plan for creating materials to distribute to identified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations April 2017
Develop an outreach plan to promote the materials September 2017
Publish the materials on our website and promote them on social media. December 2017

Opportunities

Action Deliverable Timeline
13. Investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment Develop a business case for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment within our organisation.
Include scoping relevant graduate programs, youth employment schemes and employing an Aboriginal Liaison Officer
November 2017
Engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to get an Aboriginal perspective on our business case. September 2017
14. Investigate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity Develop an understanding of the mutual benefits of procurement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses October 2017
Develop a business case for procurement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses. October 2017
15. Investigate opportunities for better service provision for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander communities
Develop an in-principle agreement with one or more Aboriginal community service organisations to collaborate and share resources where possible October 2017
Investigate opportunities to increase awareness of the
Victorian Ombudsman’s role with Aboriginal community service organisations and how we can help their clients.
October 2017

Tracking and Progress

Action Deliverable Timeline
16. Build support for the RAP Define resource needs for RAP development and implementation June 2017
Define systems and capability needs to track, measure and report on RAP activities March 2017
Complete the annual RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire and submit to Reconciliation Australia. September 2018
17. Review and Refresh RAP Liaise with Reconciliation Australia to develop a new RAP based on learnings, challenges and achievements September 2018
Submit draft RAP to Reconciliation Australia for formal review and endorsement. September 2018
Artist Garry Scott pictured with one of his works

Garry Scott is an emerging Aboriginal artist who experienced many challenges throughout his life in relation to drugs and alcohol. Whilst incarcerated, Garry decided to explore and connect to his culture by making art.

Through The Torch’s Indigenous Arts in Prisons and Community program, Garry exhibited his artworks in the annual Confined exhibitions and developed a style that incorporates many facets of Indigenous art that reflect his life’s journey.

Garry uses his art and culture as the foundation to look at where he has been,and where he wants to be in his life. Through painting he has found the focus and strength to change his lifestyle and walk a positive path, which includes passing on his new found knowledge and skills to his children.

In 2015 Garry was commissioned to create two large paintings for the main entrance of the Victoria Police Academy as part of their Koori Inclusion Project.

Reconciliation Action Plan download


About us

Information about Ombudsman Deborah Glass, our mission and values, our annual reports, and service plans.

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Find out what type of complaints we take. Read answers to common questions people have about our process.

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