BCE commits to reconciliation

Reconciliation Action Plan

BCE RAP Working Group members (from left) Hannah Curran, Eric Ellis, Natalie
Dean, Kevin Eastment, Jodie Roach and Tom Hannawi with a copy of BCE's
Reconciliation Action Plan

BRISBANE Catholic Education (BCE)'s inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) has been officially endorsed by Reconciliation Australia.

The BCE RAP was developed to grow employees’ understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, beliefs, spirituality and cultures.

The plan will strengthen current BCE reconciliation initiatives and create further opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and students.

BCE Education Officer Mary McMurtrie, a Kalkadoon woman from the Kalkatungu Language Group, created the BCE RAP artwork to tell the story of the reconciliation journey so far.

It tells a story of recognition, respect and healing through action.

BCE Executive Director Pam Betts said the RAP went hand-in-hand with BCE’s mission to teach, challenge and transform the lives of students in 142 schools across the Brisbane Archdiocese.  

Miss Betts said it was important everybody engaged with the RAP to create and maintain an organisational culture that was welcoming and culturally safe for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Disparities in education and employment are two of the key issues creating a gap in the outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples compared to non-Indigenous Australians,” she said.

“We are in a strong position to address these issues by developing and embracing our own Reconciliation Action Plan.”

Miss Betts said BCE’s Vision for the future centred around the celebration of faith, where each person gave witness to God’s hope of promoting dignity for all people by advocating for equity and justice.

“This RAP is an important tool to assist each of us in realising this Vision and providing greater support, understanding and opportunities for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff,” she said.

Archbishop Mark Coleridge said Brisbane Catholic Education’s RAP was another step in the Catholic Church’s work towards reconciliation.

Archbishop Coleridge said by embracing the plan, Brisbane Catholic Education recognised that our First Nations people needed space for healing, acknowledgement of past injustices and a commitment to move forward as a community.

“It is a commitment to ensuring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and traditions are not lost - but are protected and allowed to thrive,” he said.

Reconciliation Australia Chief Executive Officer Karen Mundine welcomed Brisbane Catholic Education to the RAP community of more than 1,000 dedicated corporate, government and not-for-profit organisations that have formally committed to reconciliation.

Ms Mundine said RAP organisations across Australia were turning good intentions into positive actions, helping to build higher trust, lower prejudice, and increase pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

She said BCE’s RAP provided key steps to establish a unique approach to reconciliation.

“We encourage Brisbane Catholic Education to embrace this journey with open hearts and minds, to grow from the challenges, and to build on its successes,” she said.

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