Innovate RAP: One year on

While there has been significant disruption from the COVID-19 pandemic during the first year of the Bank's Innovate Reconciliation Plan (RAP), good progress has been made. The COVID-19 pandemic, particularly through 2020, saw many different parts of the Bank rapidly shift priorities and devote substantial resources towards work related to the impacts of the crisis, as well as implementing the Bank's policy responses. Despite the setbacks, by the one year mark two thirds of RAP actions that were due had been completed, while the remaining one-third were in progress.

Some of the key deliverables in the Bank's RAP include the following.

  1. Meet with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders to develop a strategy for an Indigenous Business and Community Liaison program. This program was delayed by the need to undertake increased liaison related to the impact of the pandemic, and reduced ability to meet Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses in person. However, planning is well underway with an initial meeting planned for late 2021, with the program aiming to be up and running by mid-2022.
  2. Implement an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Building Cultural Capability training policy and program. This is well progressed and will commence by the end of 2021.
  3. Update Bank protocols for Acknowledgement of Country. This work has been completed and Acknowledgements of Country are now routinely performed at the start of internal and external meetings.
  4. Implement an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment, retention and professional development strategy. An impetus was provided by the creation of a new role ‘Manager First Nations and Inclusion’ which was filled in September 2021. The Bank's Workplace Behaviour Policy has been amended to strengthen references to diversity and inclusion while the Bank has trialled targeted advertising to raise awareness of available roles and the work of the Bank in First Nations communities.
  5. Develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander procurement strategy and actively explore opportunities to increase procurement from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island businesses. This is underway.

There are a number of other notable achievements as part of the Bank's work on its Innovate RAP.

Work is underway for an academic to publish an economic research article on First Nations peoples in the Reserve Bank Bulletin in 2022.

The Bank is a founding member of the International Central Bank Network for Indigenous Inclusion, along with Te Putea Matua (Reserve Bank of New Zealand), and the Bank of Canada, and has been joined by the United States Federal Reserve. Established on 1 January 2021, the group aims to share knowledge and best practices, promote engagement with Indigenous Peoples, and foster greater understanding and education about Indigenous economic issues and histories.

As custodians of the Bank's extensive Archive, Information Department has a significant and varied role to play in the Bank's reconciliation journey. Including in person and digital Museum exhibitions, and through the display of our many Archive collections.

In celebration of NAIDOC Week in November 2020, the Bank published a new feature on the Museum website, ‘Dr HC Coombs and Australia's First Nations’. The presentation brings together, for the first time, the various threads of the legacy of the Bank's first Governor related to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The Bank also has an enduring connection to First Nations culture through our art collection, which includes a significant collection of Aboriginal bark paintings. In order to enable this culturally important art to be displayed to a wide audience, both within the Bank and to external audiences, a series of bespoke frames have been commissioned. The frames meet curatorial and conservation standards for bark paintings, respecting their distinctive qualities and preserving their integrity. The Bank plans to develop a catalogue of the collection of bark paintings as a series for Unreserved – the Bank's website for its Archives – providing public access to these important cultural and historical pieces.