This week marks National Reconciliation Week, an important occasion for not only the team at ICC Sydney but Australia as a whole. This year’s theme “More than a word. Reconciliation takes action
,” is a reminder of the work that must be done to strengthen relationships and bridge the gap between Australia’s First Nations people and the broader Australian community.
Since opening, ICC Sydney has made it a priority to work with the local community to create positive change. In November 2018, ICC Sydney became the first convention centre in Australia to formalise a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). The milestone was achieved following a two-year journey during which recognition of First Nations’ heritage and culture was embedded across the business, employment opportunities for First Nations people were increased and an inclusive space to work and visit was created. The team is proud of the partnerships forged in recent years and is committed to continuing to strengthen these important relationships for years to come.
To commemorate this year’s National Reconciliation Week, the ICC Sydney team had the honour of welcoming Aboriginal elder, Aunty Margret Campbell, to deliver a Welcome to Country at the company wide team meeting this week, in addition to a cultural music and dance performance by the talented artists from the KARI Foundation, a First Nations run community support and preservation service provider. Following the performance was a networking event that featured catering with indigenous ingredients and First Nations suppliers. ICC Sydney stands and operates on Tumbalong, land of the Gadigal clan of the Eora Nation. To educate the team about First Nations’ customs and traditions as well as the history that took place right on ICC Sydney’s doorstep, Aunty Margret Campbell will also run local precinct cultural tours for team members during National Reconciliation Week. This tour is also offered to clients as part of their programming for events any time of the year. ICC Sydney’s Sustainable Event Guide
The focus on acknowledging, supporting and celebrating First Nations people and culture also continues throughout the year. The team at ICC Sydney is passionate about ensuring that the work started with the RAP is continuously built upon through employment opportunities, staff education and events. A Welcome to Country or an Acknowledgement of Country is included at the commencement of key ICC Sydney meetings, in formal documents such as the Annual Performance Review, and is something the team encourages clients to include in their events through the activation of the First Nations stream of the industry leading Legacy Program.
Welcoming guests in local Gadigal language is equally important and both shows respect and allows a greater level of cultural immersion for visitors. ICC Sydney was connected with the talented First Nations artist Jeffrey Samuels by Bronwyn Bancroft at Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-op. Samuels was commissioned to create a work which continues to welcome guests into the venue while paying homage to the original inhabitants of the area as well as their art and culture. Titled “Gadigal, Acknowledgment Respect”, this piece is positioned prominently in the entry way and whales in the painting are etched into the glass across the access points into ICC Sydney as part of a welcome to the venue in the local Gadigal language.
ICC Sydney has worked in partnership with TAFE NSW and EORA College to provide a pre-employment program where students have completed an intensive four-week course, providing broad work experience across the business. The most recent cohort from this program were offered positions at ICC Sydney and for current First Nations employees, there are mentoring opportunities offered through the partnership with KARI. Education is key to achieving equality, so ICC Sydney ensures that its diverse workforce has access to ongoing education including formal cultural awareness training. With continued engagement and partnerships with communities and educators, ICC Sydney aspires to be an employer of choice for First Nations people.
The First Nations stream of the Legacy Program gives clients the opportunity to provide a rich cultural experience for delegates and pay their respects to Elders past and present by acknowledging the original custodians of this country. This can include an Acknowledgment of Country, a welcome ceremony, performing arts, educational experiences including cultural tours and the showcasing of art and even product and services suppliers.
Through partnerships with Aunty Margret Campbell of Dreamtime SouthernX, Yvonne Weldon and Nathan Moran of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council (MLAC), Casey Ralph, Cain Slater and the entire team at the Kari Foundation and Laura Berry from Supply Nation, ICC Sydney seeks to offer connections to local First Nations businesses to connect clients and delegates with rich cultural experiences.
We hope you will join the team at ICC Sydney in taking the time during National Reconciliation Week to recognise and celebrate First Nations communities and take the time to listen and learn.