Stockland looks to community for Indigenous engagement

"Respect is a Stockland value, and a RAP is really about respect and relationships with Australia’s First Australians."

DAVINA ROONEY

Stockland General Manager Sustainability

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Stockland embarked on its commitment to reconciliation in 2014, launching its Innovate RAP. The company has taken a holistic approach to building bridges with Indigenous Australians, launching initiatives both internally and externally to fulfil its commitments.

Australia’s largest diversified real estate group, Stockland realised its responsibility to demonstrate leadership in reconciliation and its influence in encourage diversity, inclusion and celebration of Indigenous heritage and culture. Within the company, Stockland General Manager Sustainability, Davina Rooney, says that cultural awareness training has rolled out and is widely accessible to its staff members.

“So far we have trained our Executive and RAP committee and we now have an online training module available for employees.”

Beyond making reconciliation a priority within the company, Stockland has engaged in a number of community engagement initiatives as part of its RAP.

“We have a partnership in Townsville with NRL team, the North Queensland Cowboys, which has directly created education opportunities for Indigenous Australians. Also, the change of some of our procurement practices now means that we have spent over $3,262,000 with first national suppliers in the last three years,” says Rooney.

A focus on building connections around Stockland’s regional shopping centres has been part of its engagement strategy. One such example was at Nowra, where 16 Aboriginal dancers sang and danced their way through the centre for Reconciliation Day.   Another example is to respect and recognise the traditional owners of the land on which we stand by placing cultural recognition signage at over twenty shopping centres, and we commit to placing these in our head office locations in each state.

Rooney says that working with Indigenous Australians at this kind of grassroots level has been an invaluable learning tool in steering Stockland’s next step towards reconciliation.

“RAPs are an interactive process where you learn through a cycle. Early RAP can be about establishing protocols and you need to be patient, as you work through different opportunities.

“Respect is a Stockland value, and a RAP is really about respect and relationships with Australia’s First Australians.”