Taking meaningful steps towards reconciliation

Taking meaningful steps towards reconciliation

Last week in Adelaide, a team of representatives from across the core businesses in South Australia convened to help GFG take a meaningful step towards reconciliation.

The team, who represented SIMEC Mining, SIMEC Energy, the Whyalla Steelworks, and InfraBuild, may not have known what they were getting into, but it turned out to be a pretty inspiring, emotional session.

Uncle Elly McNamara, an Elder and businessman who founded Walga Mining, shared his story about the importance of supporting Indigenous owned and operated businesses.

Left, Uncle Elly McNamara, founder of Walga Mining, and right, CEO Walga Mining, Karina McNamara.

Uncle Harry Miller, Director of Walga Mining, talked about his experiences working alongside organisations attempting a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

And the morning way capped off when Gavin Wanganeen, former Port Adelaide footballer, Captain, Brownlow medallist, Indigenous artist, and our new RAP Ambassador spoke openly about finishing a stellar 16 year football career and then having the realisation that he wasn’t adequately prepared for his future. He spoke with conviction about the importance of mentoring and sharing insights and opportunities with young Indigenous people so that they too can share in the success business can bring to a region.

Gavin Wanganeen, back in his footy days as Captain of Port Adelaide.

Following the session with the Elders, the team participated in a Cultural Awareness session led by Braedon Talbot. Braedon, the Manager of the Port Adelaide Football Club’s Powerful Futures program, is also a proud Larrakia man. He took the team through some history, spoke openly about the impact of various Australian policies, and shared some deeply personal family stories and artefacts. The session had people laughing, learning, and at times shedding a few tears.

From left: Tracey Sen, Gavin Wanganeen, Greg McMillan, Annette Jacobs, Jacqui Higgins, Adam Hammersley, Denise Sharp, Chris Smyth, Courtney Price, Guilaume Deporte, Raquel Stankovic, Amy Walker, Gavin Hobart, Uncle Elly, Mark Donald, Barry Kelly, Nick Wundle, David Sawford, and Uncle Harry.


Finally, the team finished the day going through the draft version of our first RAP.

If you haven’t had much exposure to RAPs before, they’re becoming increasingly common. Most ASX listed companies, including many of our competitors have a RAP and are well advanced in their journeys.

In a nutshell, a RAP is a framework that organisations complete to outline the practical actions they intend to take to drive the company’s contribution to reconciliation, both internally and in the communities in which it operates. They include actions for building upon relationships with First Peoples, fostering respect through our sphere of influence, and increasing Indigenous employment and procurement opportunities.  You can read more here.

Our RAP, being our first, will be what’s known as a ‘Reflect RAP’. There are a number of actions across four categories: Relationships (namely, building closer ties with local Indigenous communities, and identifying groups or businesses that we can learn from and partner with), Respect (which is about making the most of our internal platforms to ensure all employees understand why this is an important journey, and participating in external events to support reconciliation), Opportunities (identifying where we could be doing more to close the gap, and that might include recruitment, procurement, or partnerships with Indigenous businesses), and Governance (which gives us a framework to ensure we make actual progress).

Once we deliver this Reflect RAP, which can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months, we hope to progress to the next level, or Innovate RAP.

It was an incredibly rewarding day, with some really passionate people keen to step up and play a role in helping close the gap.

In terms of next steps, we’re looking to run similar sessions in all states in the coming months, so keep an eye out for more information.

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