Substantive Reconciliation: the impact of Reconciliation Action Plans

Wednesday, 3 July 2019
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. In 2019, there are over 1000 organisations across Australia that have RAPs. Over 1.5 million Australians study or work in an organisation with a RAP.

In this paper, I examine the impact of these RAPs on both the individual organisations and on the national reconciliation movement. I explore the capacity of these RAPs to transcend the historical narrow focus of the Australian reconciliation movement and genuinely engage with a number of critical issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including self-determination, governance, culture, white privilege and white fragility, employment, and racism.