Reconciliation Action Plan
What is a RAP?
A Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) operates as a business plan that documents the practical actions an organisation will undertake to contribute to reconciliation in Australia. The RAP program is a flagship initiative of Reconciliation Australia It builds on the simple philosophy that relationships and respect are essential for creating sustainable opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
University RAPs can make a positive difference
RAPs are not just for business corporations and large organisations. Universities provide the idea environment to contribute to building stronger relationships and enhanced respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples and other Australians.
Through teaching and learning programs, universities contribute human capital, knowledge and understanding, and their research programs effectively address disadvantage and improve outcomes in terms of health, education and economic well-being.
Universities are ideally placed to create pathways and programs that support Indigenous Australians to succeed in higher education and the professions and, as employers, provide rewarding careers.
The involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in university life as colleagues and advisers delivers programs that are respectful and respond to the needs and aspirations of Indigenous Australians.
A big agenda
Nearly 40 years ago the Aboriginal poet Oodgeroo Noonuccal penned the iconic poem 'Song of Hope', ending with the verse:
To our fathers' fathers
The pain, the sorrow;
To our children's children
The glad tomorrow.
These words poignantly capture the grief and aspiration, the pain and the hope felt by Indigenous people pursuing the development agenda to close the gaps between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. The sentiments are often expressed as a desire for change – moving out of the town camp into the main street – or from a position of social inequality and marginalisation into one in which the dreams and capabilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders are fully realised. This transformation is complex and multi-faceted. If all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are to realise their true and full potential as individuals and as the original custodians of this land then change is required across Australian society and institutions, within Indigenous Australia, within non-Indigenous Australia, and in the relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous society. It is a big agenda.
The University of Melbourne has a role to play in this big agenda, by producing the human capital and knowledge for this transformation. The University of Melbourne RAP represents the University's key strategy to address the big agenda
The University of Melbourne RAP
The first University of Melbourne RAP was developed in 2010 as a three-year agreement for implementation from 2011 to 2013. In late 2013 the University began discussions with community Elders and university stakeholders about renewing the RAP and extending the conversation with staff and students across the University community.
The process of developing our second RAP was co-ordinated by Murrup Barak supported by a small RAP Working Group of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff who reviewed and collated suggestions made by staff and students to develop the first draft of the RAP. The draft RAP was then placed online during November 2014 for comment and feedback by the University community before being finalised in December and submitted to University Executive. Following approval by the University Executive, the RAP was forwarded to Reconciliation Australia for their endorsement. The final RAP for the period 2015–2017 will be available to be downloaded from this site on 18 March 2014.
RAP Program (RA site)
Developing the University of Melbourne's first RAP
Implementing the 2011–2013 RAP
Read about and download RAP 2