The theme for 2017’s National Reconciliation Week was ‘Let’s take the next steps’, which aligned perfectly with what we’re trying to do at Icon Group in establishing and progressing our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), (which can be found here.)
With this year’s NRW containing two important anniversaries, the first being 50 years since the 1967 referendum and the second being the 25th anniversary of the Mabo decision we decided that as is the case for all birthday’s or significant events at Icon Group, food needed to be involved in the recognition of those important events. One of our RAP goals is around increasing knowledge and awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, so we decided to make the morning teas held across the Icon sites Bush Tucker themed, and throw out the challenge to the fabulous cooks across the Group to incorporate bush ingredients into their baking.
This generated some absolutely fantastic and very tasty outcomes, some of which are shown here.
We’ve also had a goal to explore ways we work more with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses, and it was great to be able to use the First Food Co to cater the afternoon tea at our Group Strategy Day. First Food Co is a majority Aboriginal owned business driving the uptake of native Australian ingredients, and their cupcakes and cookies were delicious.
In addition to the eating, sites engaged in a wide range of other activities designed to inform our teams and our patients. To single out just a few, the Icon Cancer Centre team at Bundaberg met with some of ATSI liaison officers from the local health district around how then can work with them to increase the understanding and importance of cancer care with the local aboriginal communities,
the ROC team at Fraser Coast held their morning tea with invited guests from Galangoor Duwalami Primary Health Care Services, which also included storytelling,
and the team at Epic Pharmacy Warragul held their bush tucker morning tea with hospital’s Aboriginal Health liaison officer as their invited guest, and worked together with the liason officer to create a special sign for the patient welcome area.
We also had the opportunity to welcome Amanda Hayman and Freja Carmichael to our Icon Group head office for a weaving workshop. Amanda, in collaboration with Elisa Jane Carmichael (Freja’s sister), was responsible for the artwork which is visible throughout our RAP document. Not only did we get the chance to learn a variety of weaving techniques, we also had the chance to sit and yarn with Amanda and Freya while we worked, which added greatly to the learnings.
As the Chair of the RAP Committee, I particularly enjoyed seeing this feedback from the ROC Toowoomba team about their Reconciliation Week activities. “Both patients and staff have been very engaged in learning about the important Indigenous heritage of the Darling Downs. We are committed to taking the next steps in Australia’s reconciliation journey. Our department has never been so engaged and enthusiastic about reconciliation and our Indigenous heritage.”
This aligns so well with what we are trying to achieve with establishing our RAP: making progress along the journey to reconciliation, enjoying relationships built on respect and seeing improvements in equity of outcomes between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader Australian community.