3 JUL 2018
I’ve been lucky enough to meet, and become friends with, many inspiring Indigenous Australians in recent years. When I joined the GBCA I noted that one of the Innovation challenges promoted within Green Star was for projects that had a RAP. Whilst this was fantastic, I thought we could go one step further by developing our own organisational RAP. I pitched the idea to the Senior Leadership team, and they unanimously agreed. It didn’t take long to find a group of other employees who wanted to support this important initiative, and thus our RAP committee was born.
Prior to moving to Australia 6+ years ago I was always intrigued by the rich history of this country. Aboriginal Australians are the oldest continuous culture on Earth and I had a strong interest in learning more about this. I had an opportunity to join the organisation Supply Nation, which has a mission to embed certified Indigenous businesses into the supply chains of large corporate and government organisations by facilitating partnerships. Many of my colleagues were Indigenous and I loved learning about their customs and norms. It was also inspiring to see, and hear the stories of, the Indigenous business owners who were truly reaping the rewards of their business success, and feeding this back into their communities to create prosper for all.
I knew a lot about the Indigenous culture, and about the concept of RAPs, but I hadn’t had an opportunity to ever be involved with the actual development of a RAP prior to this. Developing our Reflect RAP was a fantastic learning experience in terms of understanding the process behind putting the document together. There were some highs and lows along the way but ultimately it was all worthwhile. I also had the added bonus of establishing some new connections within the workplace as we worked towards our common goal.
The pride attached to seeing the final document launched at a celebratory event was definitely the standout moment for me. Seeing the buy-in from our Member organisations, and the subsequent requests for support as they embark on this journey themselves, has been immensely gratifying.
In my opinion, staff have been very responsive to learning more about reconciliation. Largely our employees are values driven individuals and thus they can see the value in what we are trying to achieve. Our move to Barangaroo has provided an added boost given that the team at International Towers are very much committed to celebrating Indigenous culture.
Our Indigenous ancestors lived sustainably off the land long before urban settlers. They undertook significant engineering feats and created one of the most unique civilisations in the world. I’ve heard multiple stories of how their wisdom and knowledge has been drawn upon for urban planning projects, bushfire mitigation and planning for drought management. We have so much to learn from their experiences. And as we know, the best ideas come from having a diverse mix of individuals in the room. To me the question is more-so, why wouldn’t we engage with the Indigenous community when planning the future direction of the sustainable built environment?