International Convention Centre Sydney (ICC Sydney) has today become the first convention centre in Australia to launch a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), bolstering its ongoing commitment to recognise and celebrate the cultures, practices and traditions of Australia’s First Nations within the venue and the events it hosts.
The introduction of the RAP builds on ICC Sydney’s work to date and will see the venue activate a series of initiatives to build greater engagement with, and acknowledgement of, Australia’s First Nations, including the Gadigal people of the Eora nation – the custodians of the land on which ICC Sydney is located and operates.
NSW Minister for Finance, Services and Property, Victor Dominello said the NSW Government is proud to support ICC Sydney’s RAP and to see the venue leading the way in its sector.
“As the former Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, and now with oversight of ICC Sydney through our Property portfolio, the venue’s commitment to reconciliation is of great significance to me and the NSW government. ICC Sydney is building the pathway for other venues and businesses across Australia to follow.”
To visually represent First Nations art and culture across the precinct, ICC Sydney has commissioned an artwork by Jeffrey Samuels, renowned Aboriginal artist and Boomalli Aboriginal Artist’s Cooperative founding co-member. Elements of the work are now displayed prominently across all main entry points of the venue and across the precinct to officially welcome visitors.
Titled, Gadigal, Acknowledgement Respect, Samuels’ work tells the story of how Australia’s First People are connected to this part of Sydney Harbour. Acknowledging the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the artwork depicts various flora, shells and animals of significance around the harbour foreshore including the whale, a totem of the Gadigal clan.
ICC Sydney CEO, Geoff Donaghy said the milestone follows 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.
“We are proud of the progress we have made to promote opportunities for First Nations communities across the business since opening and are committed to building on this. Some of the highlights for us have included pre-employment programs for hospitality students with Eora College, engaging with Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council to connect events with Welcome to Country and other cultural services and now, celebrating the captivating artwork by Jeffrey Samuels to signify to our visitors that they’re on Gadigal land.
As a gateway to Sydney and Australia, we recognise that we have a unique ability and responsibility to ensure the 1.3 million people that arrive at ICC Sydney interact with First Nations culture. We are committed to celebrating and acknowledging the cultures and heritage of Australia’s First People.”
ICC Sydney is working with First Nations businesses and communities through its supply chains, community networks and client stakeholder engagement. The venue has developed its RAP utilising Reconciliation Australia’s guidelines under the Innovate template and endeavours to:
- Demonstrate its commitment and respect for First Nations communities across Sydney
- Deepen relationships and understanding of First Nations culture
- Create a workplace that is welcoming to all people and fosters increased engagement and participation for First Nations employees
- Promote ICC Sydney as a venue of choice for cultural celebrations.
The RAP has been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia as well as the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council.
Reconciliation Australia CEO, Karen Mundine congratulated ICC Sydney on demonstrating a genuine commitment to furthering reconciliation.
“A reconciled Australia is practising respect, understanding and empathy for the First Peoples of this nation, in our everyday lives. As a landmark space in our community, I commend ICC Sydney on the steps it has taken to promote the cultures, heritage and history of our First Peoples to its clients and visitors.”
Click here to read ICC Sydney’s Reconciliation Action Plan