This week is significant as it marks National Reconciliation Week (NRW). From day one at ICC Sydney we have always placed a strong importance on acknowledging, supporting and celebrating the culture of Australia’s First Nations people, and I would like to acknowledge ICC Sydney rests on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, and pay our respect to Traditional Custodians and Elders past, present and future.
In November 2018, ICC Sydney became the first convention centre in Australia to formalise a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). The milestone followed a two year journey since opening to embed recognition of Indigenous heritage and culture across the business, increase employment opportunities and ensure a culturally safe place to work and visit. Reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between First Nations and non–indigenous people, and we are proud of the important partnerships forged.
Our team is honoured to work with KARI, an incredible organisation making a big difference. KARI is an Aboriginal community support and preservation services, who we share a commitment with to developing a strong sense of community and cultural connectivity to our First Nations people. Last year we were proud to be named KARI Partner of the Year. This important organisation provides us with valuable guidance and assists us in supporting our First Nations employees and connecting clients to authentic cultural performances for their events.
Following the success of an inaugural program, a second cohort of First Nations students successfully graduated from ICC Sydney’s pre-employment program. Delivered in partnership with TAFE NSW and EORA College, students completed an intensive four weeks of experience at the venue. All 9 successful graduates from the second program were offered casual positions at ICC Sydney.
ICC Sydney worked closely with the Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative during the development of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). It is through this relationship that ICC Sydney met artist Jeffrey Samuels, and commissioned a work that tells the story of how Australia’s First Nations People are connected to Sydney Harbour. An animation of the artwork now adorns ICC Sydney’s new convention centre foyer screen. This provides a platform to share Jeffrey’s art and story in a bid to better recognise First Nations heritage, culture and people.
Education of team members is paramount to equality and equity. 85 team members at ICC Sydney have engaged in formal cultural awareness training. In celebration of National Reconciliation Week last year, 50 team members attended a NRW Grounded in Truth Leadership Series. This interactive workshop allowed attendees to experience firsthand the history and culture of First Nations people through speakers and activations. Although this year’s NRW celebrations will be virtual, we remain InThisTogether and committed to connecting communities.
We are proud of the progress we have made and milestones achieved in the last year of our RAP implementation. We acknowledge that through our community partnerships, together we have a privileged opportunity to make greater steps towards reconciliation. Supporting and engaging First Nations people and culture is a key focus for ICC Sydney and as we approach the next reiteration of our RAP, we look forward to continuing this momentum.