Our reconciliation journey continues

Jennifer Shand Jennifer Shand Australasia Press Office,Sydney
18 November 2019

Arup Australasia’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has seen existing partnerships grow, and new relationships formed with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through all our work practices.

Our strengthened ability to deliver meaningful reconciliation outcomes will be the foundation for our Innovate RAP 2020-2023, now in preparation.

Our first RAP helped us to understand our sphere of influence and what it takes to deliver meaningful reconciliation outcomes. We will continue to seek out opportunities to collaborate and to build respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This extends from our offices to our client’s project sites.

Peter Chamley Peter Chamley Chair, Australasia Region

Corporate initiatives have included Acknowledgment of Country protocols, cultural awareness training and celebrating important Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander events such as National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week, as well as actively creating respectful relationships and providing more employment and commercial opportunities.

  • A new partnership with the Indigenous Defence and Infrastructure Consortium (iDiC) will help provide opportunities to improve and increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment outcomes within our workplace and on our projects. By partnering with Arup, iDiC joins organisations such as Supply Nation facilitating engagement and business opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait owned businesses.

  • We provide mentoring and educational opportunities for Indigenous students with Engineering Aid Australia and the Indigenous Australian Engineering School, University of Melbourne and the Victorian Indigenous Engineering Winter School.

  • Our partnership with CareerTrackers ensures meaningful employment experiences, as well as longer term employment opportunities, for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. To date, 15 CareerTracker interns have spent time at Arup, with 10 returning for subsequent internships. Our CareerTrackers interns have also provided valuable insights into how we can make our workplaces culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

  • In 2019 we provided paid leave for people to attend NAIDOC Week community events encouraging direct connection with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. The feedback was overwhelmingly that they gained a greater understanding and commitment to positive change.

Examples of connection and collaboration through projects are:

  • Arup people spent time in communities, as part of the project design planning process and developed an appreciation of the real problems our design solutions are trying to solve.  An example is the solar energy and storage project we worked on with the Mutitjulu Aboriginal community in the Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.

  • In partnership with the Torres Cape Indigenous Council Alliance Inc, we have been developing a culturally appropriate strategic regional development and opportunities plan for the Torres Strait, Cape York and Gulf region which encompasses 14 local government areas. The plan will provide the first cohesive, community-endorsed and regionally led economic strategy for the region and will guide sustainable economic development.