The AICD has launched its new RAP, building upon previous efforts and reflecting the organisation's commitment to learning from the world's oldest continuing civilization.
The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has released its new Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which will drive a focused effort by the organisation to strengthen governance by incorporating the insights of First Nations people, improving the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Australia’s boardrooms and supporting self-determination.
AICD Chair John Atkin FAICD emphasised the importance of reconciliation at the AICD's Australian Governance Summit in March 2022. "We will be far stronger as a society when we achieve reconciliation with our First Nations people. We must go about that task with humility and respect for each other and the communities in which we work."
We see a reconciled Australia that learns from the world’s oldest continuing civilisation and its systems of governance developed over thousands of years.
Reconciliation means all Australians and all organisations recognise the fundamental importance of community and Country.
Reconciliation will bring greater knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to the wider community and we envisage a prominent role for First Nations peoples in leadership positions across every sector and at every level of government.
This will see more First Nations peoples represented in Australia’s boardrooms and there will be a pipeline of emerging First Nations leaders ready to step into these roles.
Reconciliation reinforces the AICD’s broad mission to strengthen society through world-class governance and our reconciliation vision is for strong, well-governed organisations across the Australian economy that listen to, learn from and serve Australia’s First Nations peoples and their communities.
To advance this vision, we will work within our sphere of influence to educate, engage and lead the director community in these focus areas:
- Lift Australian director engagement with national reconciliation.
- Build the capability of a community of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders.
- Support self-determination in governance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
- Representation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander directors.
- Recognition of the value of Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander peoples’ approaches to governance and custodianship.
- Contribute to the national conversation on First Nations self-determination and Treaty.
As Australia’s independent and trusted voice of governance, we recognise the role we can play in bringing national reconciliation to the broad and diverse range of organisations that our members lead throughout the nation.[IS1]
Reflecting and improving
Following the completion of the AICD's first RAP in 2017-2019, consulting firm IPS Management Consultants conducted a review of its implementation. The review revealed that while the AICD had made progress in certain areas, it fell short in others, such as employment and procurement strategies, building impactful partnerships with First Nations stakeholders, and prioritising RAP deliverables during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.
These insights prompted the AICD to embark on a journey of reflection, open dialogue, and improvement. By asking difficult questions and engaging in challenging conversations, the AICD is aiming create a more robust, meaningful and effective RAP.
Developing the RAP
To develop the refreshed RAP, the AICD formed a cross-functional working group co-chaired by the AICD's Sector Lead – First Nations Justin Agale and Head of Public Affairs Matt Pritchard. Input from First Nations members, stakeholders and Division Council informed the updated Reconciliation Vision, which was approved by the Board in June 2022. The AICD's reconciliation priorities and opportunities to contribute positively to national reconciliation were also informed by discussions with key member advisory committees and consultation with the AICD's state and territory Division Councils.
RAP initiatives were developed through organization-wide workshops, supported by all-staff sessions on reconciliation and perspectives from First Nations members and stakeholders.
For the first time, the RAP Working Group includes external Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Member Advisers, who were selected through a national expression of interest invitation extended to First Nations members. These advisers will play a crucial role in shaping the direction of the RAP and ensuring its relevance and effectiveness.
Key components of the new RAP
- A strong First Nations voice in RAP development and implementation, respecting self-determination: The AICD recognizes the importance of including First Nations voices in the RAP's development and implementation, ensuring that the plan remains relevant, respectful and effective.
- Improved governance, resourcing, and executive accountability: The AICD is committed to enhancing the governance structure supporting the RAP, allocating appropriate resources, and holding executives accountable for achieving the plan's objectives.
- Alignment with the AICD's mission and driving impact within its sphere of influence: The RAP's objectives align with the organisation's broader mission to strengthen society through world-class governance, and it seeks to accelerate sustainable change within the AICD's sphere of influence.
Wola Malang – Walk Together
The AICD commissioned Wonnarua/Wanaruah artist Saretta Fielding to create the AICD’s new RAP artwork — ’Wola Malang — Walk Together’ — to reflect the AICD’s journey since our first RAP and our hopes and aspirations for the future.
Watch Saretta talk about her practice and the meaning of the new artwork.
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