Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are the First Nations Peoples of Australia and we recognise their ongoing connection to land, waters and culture. We pay our respects to Elders, past, present and emerging and acknowledge the unique position and contribution made by First Nations Peoples to our culture and our future. We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged in Australia and, as a rights-based organisation, we are committed to ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are active participants in our operations and activities and that we deliver culturally safe and responsive services to First Nations Seniors living in NSW.
We have a Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2019that guides our strategies and provides focus to increase our engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in all aspects of our work. Listening and learning about their needs and ensuring our services are appropriate and accessible is a priority for Seniors Rights Service. During 2021 we are developing a new Innovate RAP to further deepen our engagement with First Nations Peoples.
We also have a First Nations Employment Strategy to ensure we have inclusive employment practices. We can only achieve greater engagement with, and relevance to, older Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples with the inclusion of First Nations staff. Building a team that is strong, open and diverse will improve our services for all clients.
Seniors Rights Service’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Protocols and Cultural Safety Plan provide guidance for staff to inform their work and practices. A main objective of these Protocols is to ensure that we are respectful of First Nations cultural beliefs and practices.
We celebrate events including Reconciliation Action Week, NAIDOC Week and the Yabun festival. Around NSW, we engage with First Nations people and communities through education and information sessions, at interagency meetings, though home care providers and with Aboriginal controlled aged care facilities. We also listen at more informal gatherings, such as meetings with Aboriginal Elders groups to hear what their concerns are and how our services can assist.
As an organisation we support the Uluru Statement From the Heart and recognise and support the sovereignty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the need for a First Nations Voice to Parliament protected by the Australian Constitution.