What is an Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan (ACAP)?

The City of Hobart had previously endorsed its Aboriginal Strategy in 2002. A project to develop a new guiding framework was initiated based on increasing momentum behind the City’s work with Aboriginal communities. It became clear that the 2002 strategy should be updated to reflect deepening relationships and greater shared ambitions between Aboriginal community members and the City of Hobart.

The draft Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan (ACAP) is a collaborative and responsive approach that is intended to reflect the type of relationship the City hopes to have with Aboriginal stakeholders moving forward – one of respect, consideration, acknowledgement and walking together. The ACAP sets out the City of Hobart’s commitment and approach to working with Aboriginal people.

The development of an Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan also strongly aligns with and directly responds to the Council endorsed Hobart: A community vision for our island capital; the Capital City Strategic Plan 2019-2029; the City of Hobart Social Inclusion Strategy 2014-2019 and the Aboriginal Strategy 2002.

Why has the City of Hobart called this document an Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan and not a Reconciliation Action Plan?

In February 2019, the Council endorsed commencement of a project to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), a document that is endorsed by Reconciliation Australia and provides a framework for organisations to support the national reconciliation movement. In workplaces, a RAP is a strategic document that supports an organisation’s business plan, and includes actions to drive an organisation’s contribution to reconciliation both internally and within its community.

A major finding from the early engagement process with Aboriginal participants was that replacing the City of Hobart’s Aboriginal Strategy 2002 with a Reconciliation Action Plan was not universally accepted, and in particular, the word ‘reconciliation’ was problematic for some. Although RAPs are nationally recognised, many Aboriginal project participants wanted a document that would reflect Hobart’s and Tasmania’s particular history and context, that was more nuanced and tailored than the ‘reconciliation’ term.

With that in mind, the project team drafted an Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan with language and actions taken directly from participant input, whist still maintaining strong alignment with the RAP framework. Reconciliation Australia have advised the City of Hobart that they are willing to consider endorsement of the final Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan as a RAP.

How was the Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan developed?

The draft Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan has been developed in response to Aboriginal community and staff aspirations as heard during a significant engagement process. This engagement included:

Community Participation: In April 2019, the project team contacted all registered Aboriginal organisations in Southern Tasmania, as well as identified community leaders. These stakeholders were invited to meet with the project team and provide input into the plan. The invitations resulted in 17 face-to face conversations (interviews) with input from 25 Aboriginal people. These conversations were open, and sought feedback and clarification from community representatives.  The project team have continued to check in with these community representatives throughout the drafting process. Aboriginal participation in the design of this plan has included diverse voices from Aboriginal organisations, arts groups, education provides and government staff.

A public forum with 78 attendees was held at the Hobart Town Hall during Reconciliation Week 2019. The Networking for Harmony Multicultural Advisory Group and the Community Sector Reference Group, two of the City of Hobart’s key reference groups, were provided with an overview of the project and draft ACAP and were invited to provide input and feedback.

Employee participation: The project team undertook intensive engagement with City employees because the plan represents the City’s commitment to how it will work with Aboriginal people. 99 employees responded to a survey on the ACAP and 72 employees participated in two workshops to design actions that could be incorporated in the plan.

Internal Working Group: A 16 member working group, including Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff representing all divisions of Council, was formed to help refine ideas and guide the development and implementation of the plan.

Elected Representatives: Elected members were invited to meet with the project team to discuss the plan and provide input directly to the team. The project team also conducted an Elected Member workshop, providing an opportunity for discussion and valuable feedback. Reconciliation Tasmania also attended this workshop and provided context and background on RAPs.

The project team were overwhelmed with the strong positive response from community and staff in the development of the ACAP. Strong themes for areas of action included:

  • Building relationships and working in partnership with Aboriginal people
  • Building a culturally safe workplace and increasing understanding and respect
  • Raising the profile of Aboriginal people, heritage and culture across the city and sharing the truth of history
  • Demonstrating leadership in social justice and inclusion in partnership with Aboriginal people.

All feedback has directly informed the ACAP.

How will the progress of the Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan be measured?

The internal working group will continue to support and drive the implementation of the ACAP. The City of Hobart will report ACAP progress publicly and to Aboriginal partners, staff and elected members and senior leaders annually. The City will also report back to Reconciliation Australia annually on the progress of the Action Plan’s deliverables.

The draft ACAP will run from 2020-2022. What happens after this?

The draft Aboriginal Commitment and Action Plan provides a framework and action plan to guide the City of Hobart’s work in Aboriginal programs over the next two years. In line with Actions 19, 20 and 21 (on page 21 of the draft ACAP), the City will report back on the Action Plan and will work in partnership with Aboriginal people to develop the next ACAP/RAP for the City.

What will happen to my feedback and comments?

All feedback will be considered in conjunction with the initial consultation and collaborative development of the draft ACAP that was undertaken with Aboriginal people and the City of Hobart staff. All feedback will be reviewed and considered in the development of the final ACAP. The community engagement process will be reported back to Council. Results of the engagement will also be available to view on Your Say Hobart.

Are hard copies of the feedback form and draft ACAP available?

Yes, copies of the draft ACAP and feedback forms will be available at the Council Centre, 16 Elizabeth St.