Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network (EMPHN) conducts its business on the unceded lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. We know that Aboriginal Australians have a life-expectancy about a decade shorter than non-Aboriginal Australians. It is in that context that on behalf of the Board and staff of EMPHN, we are proud to present EMPHN’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2020−2022. This plan, and the process we have gone through to prepare it, symbolises our move towards a deeper commitment to reconciliation and building relationships across our business with our Aboriginal organisations and communities.
To ensure we are commissioning culturally safe and appropriate services that meet local needs, we are seeking to improve the way in which we engage with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
EMPHN celebrated the launch of our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan virtually with staff, local community Aboriginal organisations and representation from Reconciliation Australia.
Watch our launch below.
EMPHN CEO Janine Wilson, Reconciliation Australia Karen Milward and EMPHN RAP Lead Graham Custance discuss our RAP in celebration of our endorsement and launch.
Our vision for reconciliation is to embark in genuine and empowering partnerships that foster and support wellbeing, self-determination and resilience in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, using a multigenerational, equitable and a dignified approach.
- We recognise the impact of colonisation on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Victoria.
- We support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, organisations and communities to be self-determining in their health and wellbeing.
- Working in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, including Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCO’s) in eastern and north eastern Melbourne, through active and ongoing engagement.
- Strong advocacy to allow for flexible approaches in service delivery models that is inclusive of the whole Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Our partnerships and consultations enable a strengths based approach for capacity building with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities including ACCOs.
- We recognise and support the need for local ACCOs including Gathering Places to have the necessary infrastructure to ensure culturally safe, secure and ongoing spaces are in place for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to access, make connections to culture and community, and provide holistic approaches that support access to affordable and safe health care.
Eastern Melbourne Primary Health Network has been working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities over the past two years to develop a better understanding of approaches that support effective, sustainable responses to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. We are establishing relationships with the Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) in our region and other Aboriginal organisations that provide services and support across our region. Our growing awareness of the negative impact that funding
guidelines, commissioning policies and commissioning practices can have when they don’t take into account the experience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, has encouraged a review of our approach. We have embedded several practices to acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and to encourage learning and understanding.
EMPHN ensures all meetings and webinars commence with an acknowledgement of Traditional Owners. We also acknowledge Traditional Owners in our email signature and on our website. In 2017 we provided Aboriginal cultural awareness training to all staff. We celebrated the consolidation of our offices on the Box Hill site with a Welcome to Country by a Wurundjeri Elder and a didgeridoo performance. We acknowledged National Reconciliation week with a staff gathering. Traditional food was supplied by Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place and we had activities to encourage staff to explore Aboriginal experiences of colonisation and the impact of past policies and treatment. Our staff have volunteered at the Food Bank provided to members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community through Mullum Mullum Indigenous Gathering Place. Involvement from senior leaders in the Aboriginal community controlled sector in Health Promotion activities.
We organised a RAP workshop for all staff, board members and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community representatives from the Aboriginal community controlled organisations who are in our region or who provide services across our region. Staff and board members heard from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community leaders about their journeys engaging with their communities and how they have developed responses to their communities’ needs and aspirations. They heard about the knowledge and history that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s hold and the strength that communities have, to overcome past and current inequities and how we might best support communities to keep regenerating, re-connecting, enculturating and growing. The workshop had a significant impact on staff awareness of issues that impact on the growth and empowerment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in their pursuit of self-determination.
Through our collaborative commissioning practice that supports programs that have been developed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in the outer east and outer north of our region we are developing more sensitive ways of understanding what works in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and how we can best evaluate and improve our approach toward Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. This will aid in the continuing development of frameworks and models of commissioning that embody Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander expectations and aspirations of program planning, design, implementation, governance, management and evaluation.
EMPHN commissioned Amanda Wright to create this artwork in celebration of its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan March 2020 - March 2022.
Black cockatoo represents the power spirit come into life. Black cockatoos can bring empowerment, happiness and contentment. The circle is a symbol of equity, wholeness, completion, communication and the cycle of life. The background is the earth on which we all as people walk together in harmony.
Amanda Wright is a mother of four children. She has graduated from RMIT University in fine arts and has a degree as an art teacher. Art runs through her veins as it does her whole family.
Amanda has had many solo and group exhibitions and has completed many murals for child care centres, kindergartens and schools. Her ancestors are the Palawa people from Tasmania and she draws her inspiration for her artwork through her heritage. She thinks of her grandparents’ spirit as she paints and there is not a day that goes by that a paint brush is not in her hand.