Reconciliation action plans and universities

Tuesday, 21 March 2017
Prof Andrew Gunstone

In 2006, one of Australia’s peak national reconciliation organisations, Reconciliation Australia, developed the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) program. This program encourages organisations, such as corporates, schools, local governments and community groups, to develop RAPs regarding their vision for reconciliation for their organisation. Over the past ten years, over 600 organisations across Australia have created RAPs. In this paper, I examine the RAPs developed by sixteen Australian universities. I look at how these university RAPs have addressed a number of critical issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including governance, research, teaching and learning, employment, students, culture and engagement. I examine the impact of these RAPs on addressing the long-standing failure of Australian universities to genuinely address the educational needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.