Jobs, name changes in Vincent Aboriginal plan

VINCENT council will try to lift the number of Aboriginal people it employs after adopting a Reconciliation Action Plan that notes it has just three indigenous staff out of a total workforce of 435.

The plan also recommends some streets and places in Vincent be changed to have Noongar names.

The city has already given unnamed lanes near Beaufort Street the Noongar names Mereny and Kaadadjiny.

The RAP 2019-2021 voted in unanimously by Vincent council this week aims to improve economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It calls for at least 10 Aboriginal employees by July 2021, with the city aiming to eliminate any barriers to boosting their employment rates.

Traineeships

Aboriginal consultants will be engaged on how to even up representation.

The council has also started up two traineeships for Aboriginal students from Aranmore Catholic College.

The plan encourages staff to sprinkle commonplace Noongar language and greetings around the office and in emails.

Fees to hire city facilities and parks may also be waived to encourage more Aboriginal events, while Aboriginal-owned companies can expect more trade with the council.

By July 2021 the council aims to procure 5 per cent of its goods and services from Aboriginal-owned businesses, and will look into signing up with Supply Nation, a not-for-profit that hooks up organisations with Aboriginal-owned companies.

Anthropology studies will be conducted at nine significant Aboriginal sites within the city to explore their histories, including Stones Lake, Robertson Lake, Carr Street and the former Lake Monger velodrome.

Vincent was an early adopter of some reconciliation measures: It’s been flying an Aboriginal flag outside council chambers since 1996.

Neighbouring Stirling council resisted having an Aboriginal flag with councillors voting against it for decades until they finally agreed to start flying it late last year.

Cultural

Since the Vincent council launched its first RAP in 2017, they’ve had all staff attend cultural training sessions, added an acknowledgment of country in all staff signatures, “as well as mandating a Welcome to Country at major city funded events”.

That last measure was described in 2018 as an overreach by Liberal Aboriginal affairs shadow minister Kyran O’Donnell, who said the acknowledgments had more meaning when they were voluntary.

by DAVID BELL

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