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Our vision for reconciliation

The Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) acknowledges and respects Aboriginal peoples as the state’s First Peoples and nations; and recognises Aboriginal peoples as Traditional Owners and occupants of lands and waters in South Australia.


Aboriginal dot painting depicting South Australian map with land, coastline and ocean

Artist: Tony Wilson

There are three variations of colours, but all representing an abstract geographical landscape of the state of South Australia.

The circular rippled effects represent the reach AGD has across the state.

The circles represent the variety of important roles all staff undertake both individually and collectively to deliver the services and support to the people of SA.

The layered effect is symbolic of three main roles of AGD:

  • ensuring laws and the justice system are fair
  • protecting citizens and their rights
  • providing services to support individuals, business and industry.

The top layer represents the people of SA.

Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 

July 2019 - June 2021

Acknowledgement of Country

The Attorney-General’s Department acknowledges and respects Aboriginal peoples as the state’s First Peoples and nations, and recognises Aboriginal peoples as Traditional Owners and occupants of lands and waters in South Australia.

We recognise:

  • the spiritual, social, cultural and economic practices of Aboriginal people come from their connection to traditional lands and waters
  • maintaining cultural and heritage beliefs, languages and laws are of ongoing importance to Aboriginal peoples today
  • Aboriginal peoples have made and continue to make a unique and irreplaceable contribution to South Australia.

We acknowledge Aboriginal peoples have endured past injustice and dispossession of their traditional lands and waters and the effects of such injustice and dispossession are still felt today.

Note - In South Australia, Aboriginal is used to describe Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Chief Executive forward

The Attorney-General’s Department has a strong history of recognising the important role government justice agencies can play in promoting reconciliation and supporting Aboriginal economic participation. Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) aims to highlight the various actions we will continue to take to strengthen our commitment in these areas.

Through our RAP, we will ensure the Attorney-General’s Department is an inclusive and culturally safe place for Aboriginal people to work and access services. This will be reflected in the way we communicate and engage with Aboriginal people, and the way we celebrate and promote Aboriginal culture.

As a department we have made great progress in increasing our number of Aboriginal employees and we hope by implementing the measures in this RAP, this will continue. We also have a number of business units that provide a range of diverse services to the South Australian Aboriginal community. The RAP will ensure as a department we are proactive in our efforts to ensure these services are delivered in a culturally inclusive way.

I encourage all staff to familiarise themselves with this plan, and to embrace opportunities to be part of the reconciliation process.

Caroline Mealor

Chief Executive

Attorney-General’s Department

Message from Reconciliation Australia 

On behalf of Reconciliation Australia, I am delighted to see the South Australian Attorney-General’s Department continue its reconciliation journey and to formally endorse its third Innovate RAP.

Through the development of an Innovate RAP, the Attorney-General’s Department continues to play an important part in a community of over 1,000 dedicated corporate, government, and not-for-profit organisations that have formally committed to reconciliation through the RAP program since its inception in 2006. RAP organisations across Australia are turning good intentions into positive actions, helping to build higher trust, lower prejudice, and increase pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. 

Reconciliation is no one single issue or agenda. Based on international research and benchmarking, Reconciliation Australia, defines and measures reconciliation through five critical dimensions: race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity; unity; and historical acceptance. All sections of the community—governments, civil society, the private sector, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities—have a role to play to progress these dimensions.

The RAP program provides a framework for organisations to advance reconciliation within their spheres of influence. This Innovate RAP provides the Attorney-General’s Department with the key steps to establish its own unique approach to reconciliation. Through implementing an Innovate RAP, the department will strengthen its approach to driving reconciliation through its business activities, services and programs, and develop mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders.

We wish the Attorney-General’s Department well as it embeds and expands its own unique approach to reconciliation. We encourage the department to embrace this journey with open hearts and minds, to grow from the challenges, and to build on its successes. As the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation reminded the nation in its final report: 

“Reconciliation is hard work—it’s a long, winding and corrugated road, not a broad, paved highway. Determination and effort at all levels of government and in all sections of the community will be essential to make reconciliation a reality.”

On behalf of Reconciliation Australia, I commend the Attorney-General’s Department on its third RAP, and look forward to following its ongoing reconciliation journey.

Karen Mundine

Chief Executive Officer

Reconciliation Australia 

Our vision for reconciliation

The Attorney-General’s Department acknowledges the unacceptable over-representation of Aboriginal people as victims and offenders in the criminal justice system and is committed to working with Aboriginal people to overcome disadvantage in law and justice.

Our vision for reconciliation is to work with Aboriginal people to promote healing and to build an inclusive, safe and fair South Australia for all.

Our business

With its head office located in Adelaide, the Attorney-General’s Department provides a broad range of legal, policy and other services across South Australia. There are approximately 1,970 staff employed in the department, 34 of whom identify as Aboriginal.

The Attorney-General’s Department promotes justice by protecting the rights of all South Australians, holding people to account according to the law, improving safety, and contributing to an efficient and fair justice system.

With a focus on prevention, the Attorney-General’s Department promotes fair, timely and easy access to justice through the provision of legal, civil, prosecutorial and legislative services, as well as specialist policy advice.

The Attorney-General’s Department also fosters community safety and wellbeing by advocating for and protecting the rights of individuals, in particular, the most vulnerable in the community, and promoting cultural diversity and equality. This includes working with the community and businesses to protect people’s rights and promoting a fair and safe community.

The Attorney-General’s Department works in a number of areas that are particularly relevant to Aboriginal South Australians including:

  • our commitment to increasing the number of Aboriginal staff employed in the department to 4% of our overall workforce
  • providing work experience opportunities to Aboriginal students
  • working with Traditional Owners and land users to determine native title rights
  • building future leaders through development programs such as the Aboriginal Power Cup
  • working to address over-representation of Aboriginal people in the criminal justice system
  • supporting a fair marketplace through consumer awareness and complaints handling, including by producing education material in Aboriginal languages
  • working to address discrimination.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan

Relationships

Building strong relationships with Aboriginal communities and organisations is critical if the Attorney-General’s Department is to succeed in delivering many of the functions the department is responsible for, including negotiating native title, advocating and protecting rights, consumer awareness and the development of laws and policies.

Key partnerships the Attorney-General’s Department has, and is committed to strengthening, include:

  • The Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, which is South Australia’s dedicated Aboriginal legal service
  • The Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation through implementation of the Buthera Agreement
  • The Port Adelaide Football Club in its delivery of the Adelaide Power Cup and other programs aimed at promoting increased awareness of Aboriginal culture.

Action 1: RAP Committee actively monitors RAP development and implementation

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Review the Terms of Reference for the RAP Committee.

Complete in June annually

Ensure there are at least four Aboriginal representatives on the RAP Committee.

Complete in June annually

RAP Committee continues to meet at least four times per year.

Complete in June annually

Appoint an internal RAP Champion from senior management.

Complete in June annually

Oversee the development, endorsement and launch of this RAP.

Completed in July 2019.

Action 2: Engage proactively to develop new and strengthened relationships with Aboriginal individuals, communities and organisations

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Develop and implement an engagement plan to work with Aboriginal stakeholders.

Complete in June 2020

Continue partnership with the Port Adelaide Football Club Power Community Ltd to support the Aboriginal Power Cup.

Complete in June annually

Identify and communicate with Aboriginal stakeholders on policy priorities as required (e.g. the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement, the South Australian Aboriginal Advisory Council, and the Commissioner for Aboriginal Engagement).

Complete in June annually

Provide training opportunities for AGD staff to develop an understanding of the cultural protocols of Aboriginal communities.

Complete in June annually

Meet with a minimum of two local Aboriginal organisations to develop guiding principles for future engagement.

Complete in June annually

Establish a minimum of two partnerships to facilitate two-way learning between justice agencies and Aboriginal communities and / or organisations relevant to our sphere of influence.

Complete in June annually

Action 3: Improve AGD communication with Aboriginal communities

Responsibility

Commissioner for Consumer and Business Services and Chief Recovery Officer

Target

Produce material in the Pitjantjatjara and Yankunytjatjara languages to increase consumer protection for Aboriginal people and provide information on fine payment plans and early repayment processes.

Completed in December 2019

Action 4: Participate in the South Australian Government Jawun secondment program

Responsibility

Director, Human Resources

Target

Provide at least one secondment candidate of ASO6 of above to participate in the Jawun secondment program.

Complete in June annually

Action 5: Implement the Buthera Agreement in partnership with the Narungga Nation Aboriginal Corporation (NNAC)

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Provide de-identified crime and justice data to NNAC to support joint policy and program planning and decision-making.

Complete in July 2020

Identify strategies to support Narungga people to access employment in the justice sector.

Complete in July 2020

Waive fees for Aboriginal people to change their current name registered with Births, Deaths and Marriages to their traditional name.

Complete in July 2020

Work with NNAC to ensure the details and constitutions of Narungga associations are up to date.

Complete in July 2020

Provide NNAC with copies of records held in the state archives that are not currently held by Narungga.

Complete in July 2020

Work with NNAC to implement strategies for eligible individuals to settle outstanding fines where usual payment options are not a viable option.

Complete in July 2020

Action 6: Through the application of the South Australian Code of Ethics, promote diversity, positive race relations and anti-discrimination

Responsibility

Director, Human Resources

Target

Ensure all staff are aware of their obligations under the South Australian Code of Ethics, including the standards relating to professional and respectful behaviour.

Complete in July 2020

Act to address instances of suspected misconduct, including where it relates to racism or discrimination.

Complete in July 2020

Engage with Aboriginal staff to identify and address instances of racism or discrimination.

Complete in July 2020

Educate senior leaders on the effects of racism.

Complete in July 2020.

Action 7: Ensure there is a high level of respect and support for the RAP throughout AGD and senior staff are accountable for the progress of the RAP

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Engage senior staff in the delivery of RAP actions by delivering quarterly reports to the Executive Management Group.

Complete in January, April, July and October annually

Develop and implement a strategy to communicate the RAP to all internal and external stakeholders.

Complete in December 2019

Promote RAP activity and reconciliation within AGD.

Complete in January and July annually

Action 8: Celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW) to strengthen and maintain relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Circulate Reconciliation Australia’s NRW resources and reconciliation materials to all staff.

Complete in May annually

All business units to organise or participate in internal NRW events.

Complete in May annually

Maintain a department-wide NRW calendar of events to be promoted on the AGD intranet, in conjunction with whole of government practices.

Complete in May annually

Contribute to the whole of government NRW calendar of events coordinated by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

Complete in May annually

All business units to register their events on Reconciliation Australia’s NRW website.

Complete in May annually

Chief Executive to communicate to all staff to encourage participation in at least one NRW event.

Complete in May annually

Provide business unit heads and Aboriginal staff with a reminder regarding options for Aboriginal staff to access leave entitlements to participate in cultural events including local NRW events.

Complete in May annually

RAP Committee to participate in at least one external NRW event.

Complete in May annually

Respect

Respect for Aboriginal peoples and cultures can be reflected in many ways.

Respect is about publicly acknowledging Aboriginal peoples as the original inhabitants of Australia, and recognising Aboriginal peoples continue to have a spiritual relationship with the land and waters. It is also about acknowledging past injustices and how these continue to have an impact on Aboriginal peoples and communities today.

Respect will be measured by the way in which we recognise and celebrate the invaluable contribution Aboriginal South Australians have made to this state. It is about how we engage with Aboriginal peoples, communities and organisations to inform our work, and how we ensure our workplace is a culturally sensitive and safe place for the department’s Aboriginal employees.

Demonstrating respect in these ways will ensure the Attorney-General’s Department’s approach to reconciliation is genuine and meaningful. It will also ensure reconciliation is embedded into the core business of the department and promoted as everyone’s responsibility.

Action 9: Engage employees in Aboriginal cultural awareness training to increase knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal cultures, histories and achievements

Responsibility

Director, Human Resources

Target

Conduct a review of AGD’s cultural learning needs.

Complete in June 2020

Develop and implement an Aboriginal cultural awareness training strategy for AGD staff.

Complete in June annually

Engage an Aboriginal provider to deliver face to face cultural awareness training.

Complete in June annually

Ensure a minimum of 10 AGD business units participate in face to face cultural awareness training.

Complete in June annually

All RAP Committee members undertake cultural awareness training.

Complete in June annually

All senior executives undertake cultural awareness training.

Complete in June annually

Action 10: Demonstrate respect to Aboriginal peoples and communities by embedding cultural protocols as part of the way AGD functions

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Maintain a cultural protocol document for Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country which has information about all South Australian Aboriginal nations and their boundaries.

Complete in June annually

Maintain and review a list of key contacts for organising a Welcome to Country.

Complete in June annually

Invite a local Traditional Owner to provide a Welcome to Country at all significant events, including NRW and NAIDOC Week events.

Complete in May and July annually

Business Unit Heads to provide an Acknowledgement of Country at all other events and meetings.

Complete in June annually

Update our meeting agenda templates to include an Acknowledgement of Country.

C
omplete in June annually

Action 11: Create a work environment that promotes and celebrates Aboriginal cultures

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Install at least six Aboriginal artworks in prominent locations in AGD offices and customer service centres.

Complete in June 2020

Honour Aboriginal people or places through naming meeting rooms in AGD offices, in consultation with Aboriginal Elders.

Complete in June 2020

Action 12: Celebrate NAIDOC Week and provide opportunities for all staff to engage with Aboriginal cultures and communities during NAIDOC Week

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community and Director, Human Resources

Target

Hold at least one NAIDOC Week event.

Complete in July annually

Provide business unit heads and Aboriginal staff with a reminder regarding options for Aboriginal staff to access leave entitlements to participate in cultural events including local NAIDOC Week events.

Complete in July annually

Chief Executive to communicate to all staff to encourage participation in NAIDOC Week events.

Complete in July annually

RAP Committee to participate in at least one external NAIDOC Week event.

Complete in July annually

Contribute to the whole of government NAIDOC calendar of events coordinated by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

Complete in July annually

Nominate an Aboriginal staff member or stakeholder for the annual Premier’s NAIDOC Award in recognition of their service to the South Australian justice sector.

Complete in July annually

Opportunities

The Attorney-General’s Department is committed to building future Aboriginal leaders, to delivering culturally appropriate services to Aboriginal people, and to strengthening the relationship and trust between Aboriginal peoples and the South Australian justice sector.

The department’s commitment to extending opportunities to Aboriginal people is highlighted by its focus on increasing Aboriginal employment. These employment targets are made meaningful through the department’s commitment to investing in providing ongoing employment to Aboriginal employees, and over time, opportunities for Aboriginal employees to progress their career into more senior roles.

By providing opportunities for non-Aboriginal staff to participate in cultural competency training and other cultural recognition events, it serves to ensure the department’s whole workforce is culturally aware and able to act positively and proactively to embed our commitment to reconciliation as part of the department’s core business.

Action 13: Implement the Aboriginal Retention and Employment Strategy (ARES) to employ and retain Aboriginal employees within AGD

Responsibility

Director, Human Resources

Target

Recruit an Aboriginal Engagement Consultant.

Complete in June annually

Increase the number of Aboriginal people employed in AGD to 4% by 2020 including 2% at the executive level.

Complete in December 2020

Review ARES, including the professional development opportunities available to Aboriginal staff, by engaging with existing Aboriginal staff.

Complete in June annually

Provide reports to the Executive Management Group on progress of ARES actions.

Complete in January, April, July and October annually

Review applicants on the Aboriginal Employment Register for all suitable vacancies before they are advertised externally.

Complete in June annually

Promote and advertise relevant job vacancies in Aboriginal media including the Aboriginal Way, the Koori Mail and the Turkindi Network.

Complete in June annually

Actively promote AGD as an employer of choice at community events / training expos.

Complete in June annually

Action 14: Support Aboriginal Business Procurement 

Responsibility

Director, Strategic Planning and Business Operations

Target

Develop commercial relationships with Aboriginal businesses.

Complete in June annually

Integrate the Aboriginal economic participation objectives of the Industry Participation Policy into existing AGD processes and practices in line with whole of government arrangements.

Complete in June annually

Business Unit Heads to search Aboriginal Business Connect (aboriginalbusinessconnect.com.au) for suitable Aboriginal owned businesses for all procurement opportunities valued up to $220,000.

Complete in June annually

For procurement valued greater than $220,000, engage with the Office of the Industry Advocate to determine opportunities for Aboriginal engagement.

Complete in June annually

Establish AGD’s baseline of procurement to Aboriginal owned business, and set a procurement target.

Complete in June annually

Promote Aboriginal owned businesses to AGD Business Unit Heads via the AGD intranet.

Complete in June annually

Governance, tracking progress and reporting

While having a plan to promote and advance reconciliation is important, its success can only be achieved through a focus on delivery and implementation.

The Attorney-General’s Department will be accountable for delivering the measures detailed in this RAP and reporting internally and externally on progress toward achieving its targets.

Implementation of this RAP will embed reconciliation into the core business of the department. It will be overseen by the senior executives, but will be the responsibility of all employees.

Where successfully implemented, this RAP will not only drive reconciliation, it will be an effective tool to improve justice outcomes for Aboriginal South Australians.

Action 15: Provide appropriate support for effective implementation of RAP commitments.

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Define resource needs for RAP implementation.

Complete in June annually

Engage AGD executive and other staff in the delivery of RAP commitments.

Complete in June annually

Define and maintain appropriate systems to track, measure and report on RAP commitments.

Complete in June annually

Action 16: Report RAP achievements, challenges and learnings internally and externally

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Complete and submit the RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire to Reconciliation Australia.

Complete in September annually

Investigate participation in Reconciliation Australia’s RAP Barometer.

Complete in May 2020

Publicly report on RAP achievements, challenges and learnings.

Complete in June annually

Communicate update on RAP progress to all staff via the AGD intranet.

Complete in June annually

Contribute to the whole of government Reconciliation Report coordinated by the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

Complete in June annually

At least one senior staff member to participate on the whole of government Reconciliation Network.

Complete in June annually

Action 17: Review, refresh and update RAP

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Liaise with Reconciliation Australia to develop a new stretch RAP based on learnings, challenges and achievements.

Complete in February 2021

Send draft RAP to Reconciliation Australia for feedback.

Complete in February 2021

Submit draft RAP to Reconciliation Australia for formal endorsement.

Complete in May 2021

Action 18: Regular updates to Executive Management Group on progress

Responsibility

Executive Director, Policy and Community

Target

Executive Management Group to receive regular briefings from the AGD Aboriginal Engagement Consultant on RAP progress, reconciliation outcomes, and proposals to further promote Aboriginal cultural recognition and celebration within AGD.

Complete in January, April, July and October annually