'Healing Through Belonging' exhibition

Reconciliation Action Plan

Message from the CEO 

I am proud to present Sydney Olympic Park Authority’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which will guide our efforts to embrace, recognise and value Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage.

Our Innovate RAP has been developed over the past year; it is the next step in our journey towards reconciliation that has been underway at Sydney Olympic Park for well over a decade.

Through this Reconciliation Action Plan we want to explore opportunities to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures are seen and celebrated, as part of our vision to create a world-leading precinct with a vibrant, liveable and sustainable community.

We continue to work with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to gain a better understanding of the First Custodians of this land, and promote a greater understanding and appreciation of their histories.

The Innovate RAP builds on our existing commitment to celebrate the Traditional Owners and their heritage; it has been developed in close consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

I commend everyone involved in the development of this plan and our reconciliation journey, with special thanks to the RAP Working Group and the Murama Cultural Council. It is an important initiative that will create a stronger sense of place and identity here at Sydney Olympic Park and help us create more memorable experiences for residents, workers and visitors to the Park, now and in the future.

Charles Moore
CEO, Sydney Olympic Park Authority


Our Vision for reconciliation

Sydney Olympic Park Authority acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first Custodians of the land, air and waters of this place we now call Australia. 

Our vision is to create a world leading precinct where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures are seen, celebrated and valued.  
We embrace, recognise and respect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture as the world’s oldest continuous living culture, which imparts belonging and richly contributes to a vibrant and sustainable future that can be shared by all Australians.

The development of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) ensures that we respect the first Custodians of Sydney Olympic Park and explore opportunities to share important stories and events of the past and create memorable experiences for future generations. This will contribute to a sense of belonging and a vibrant and sustainable shared future at Sydney Olympic Park. 

The RAP supports our mission to curate world-class places and events, by celebrating Sydney Olympic Park’s rich cultural identity and promoting a greater place attachment for past, present and future communities and visitors. The RAP aligns with the following key business objectives: 

 

  • Recognised World Class Precinct Manager 
  • Trusted Advisor to Government 
  • Innovative, Agile & Sustainable Operator 
  • Driving Economic & Activation Benefits 
  • Engaged, motivated & effective workforce. 

The RAP also supports our goal to achieve a 6 Star Green Star Communities rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, particularly in the areas of culture, heritage and identity and community development. 

As a NSW Government agency, we will use the RAP to drive outcomes against State

Government priorities, including increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles, improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education outcomes and increasing cultural participation. 

Our RAP also supports our commitment to the following international standards:

  • UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which affirms the minimum standards for the survival, dignity, security and well-being of Indigenous peoples worldwide and enshrines Indigenous peoples’ right to be different. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, June Oscar, says that “The Declaration is the most comprehensive tool we have available to advance and protect the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples”.
  • UN Sustainable Development Goals which are guiding principles underpinning a sustainable organisation include goals that pertain to improving conditions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

  • Goal 8 – Decent work and economic growth
  • Goal 10 – Reduced inequalities
  • Goal 11 - Sustainable Communities
  • Goal 12 - Responsible consumption
  • Goal16 - Peace, Justice, Strong Institutions
  • Goal 17 – Partnerships

 

Our RAP Journey 

A number of events and projects celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures were held at Sydney Olympic Park in the years following the Games. The Aboriginal History and Connections Program (Suzanne Ingram and Paul Irish) ran from 2001 to 2005 and engaged in both historical research of the Aboriginal experience within this place and the establishment of a contemporary network of local stakeholders within Western Sydney. 

 

The Authority held the Sydney Dreaming Festivals in Bicentennial Park in 2002 and Cathy Freeman Park in 2003. These were large-scale multi-artform events featuring both professional and amateur performers from throughout Australia. Smaller satellite programs were conducted at other park locations such as the Armory and included bush tucker cooking classes, school programs and Aboriginal guided tours of the Wangal Woodlands. 

 

The process of internal staff engagement that has led to this RAP began in 2012 when D’harawal Saltwater Knowledge Keeper (Shannon Foster) was employed to work with our school education team to embed Aboriginal knowledges into existing site education programs. This led to professional development and upskilling of education staff to deliver these programs. By the time the annual Youth Eco Summit (YES) was held in 2012 (a two-day sustainability summit for primary and secondary school students), Aboriginal students’ involvement was actively sought and in 2013, Aboriginal cultural workshops (weaving and storytelling) were held as part of the event. 

 

Since 2014, as a result of interest expressed by classroom teachers, the Authority has delivered a teacher professional learning program – the Koori Classroom – to assist teachers incorporate ‘authentic’ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives into their teaching (this program received NESA accreditation in 2016). 

 

Meanwhile our education team participated in NAIDOC Week events such as the National Indigenous Science Experience, run by Macquarie University from 2013 to 2016. 

 

The idea of a separate Aboriginal Youth Eco Summit event evolved and Murama began (MURAMA indicating YES in Sydney Aboriginal language). The concept was based on the Belonging Project (from local Elders) whereby Aboriginal high school students are taught cultural practices during a day of workshops. On the second day the high school students teach primary school students what they have learnt. Based on this model, Aboriginal students attended a pre-YES event for cultural learning in 2014. 

We have developed an Innovate RAP which outlines the actions that we will undertake to achieve our unique vision for reconciliation. Our journey for reconciliation started over a decade ago. We have worked with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to gain a better understanding of the First Custodians of the land we now call Sydney Olympic Park and have developed a suite of programs to share that knowledge with future generations.

Relationships
We will build and nurture relationships between the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and other Australians and visitors to share important stories and events of the past and create memorable experiences for future communities.

Respect
We will demonstrate our respect for the First Custodians of Sydney Olympic Park to promote greater understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, knowledge, values and cultural practices so as to create a place that all Australians can be proud of.

Opportunities
We will provide more opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to live, work, learn and play at Sydney Olympic Park.

Download ButtonReconciliation Action Plan (RAP) (PDF 5.33MB)