Reconciliation Action Plan ACT & Surrounds

Reconciliation Action Plan

We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as the Traditional Custodians of this land, with deep respect. May Elders, past, present, and emerging, be blessed and honoured. May we join together and build a future based on compassion, justice, hope, faith, and reconciliation.

Message from our President & Chief Executive Officer

Since we introduced our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2021, the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn (the Society) has taken many practical and culturally appropriate steps towards strengthening our relationships with and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the communities we serve.

We have provided Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness training to our staff and have made clear through information and communication materials, the six traditional nations on which we serve. We have supported key events like NAIDOC and Reconciliation Weeks locally and engaged with First Nations organisations for the first time. We have also incorporated statements of respect and acknowledgement in our daily work.

In this RAP, we build on the work of the first Plan. We are introducing some additional initiatives to deepen our understanding, skills and capabilities as Members, Volunteers and Employees. We are committed to ensuring that the Society has the knowledge, connections to community and the best skills to serve the needs of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in our region.

We know well about the material hardship experienced by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people. They are over-represented in almost every social and economic disadvantage indicator, with high imprisonment rates, lower life expectancy, poorer health, education, and employment. We see this reflected in our front line services.

Nationally and locally, the Society listens to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and supports them in their efforts to take ownership and responsibility for the challenges that they face, and works constructively with Governments from any political party to develop the laws and policies needed to ‘Close the Gap’. It is in that broader context that this plan aims to make practical progress in our work and understanding.

This Plan provides us with a roadmap to build a deeper respect and understanding alongside stronger skills over the next 12 months, so that we may better serve our companions with the Vincentian values of respect, advocacy and compassion.

We thank the RAP Working Group and the Social Justice Advocacy Committee for their commitment to develop this important Plan.

We encourage you to read this document, look for opportunities to support it and bring it to life in your work.

Kym Duggan,
Territory Council President, St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn

Lucy Hohnen,
Chief Executive Officer, St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn

The Aboriginal Countries we work within

The Society is exploring the Aboriginal Countries we work within,
so that we better understand the histories and stories of those that came before us.

Discover more


Artist Acknowledgement

Proud Ngunnawal and Ngambri man, Budda Connors, has designed the artwork ‘Caring of Others’ for the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn.

Raised in Yass and with a growing family of his own, Budda is dedicated to helping others, working as a mental health worker with the Gugan Gulwan Youth Aboriginal Corporation and volunteering on the side with multiple community initiatives.

His extensive community involvement also extends to his family, with his son Damon volunteering at a Vinnies centre for the last five years.

 However, it is Budda’s knack for storytelling through art, as learned from watching his Uncle Des over many years, that has developed his status as a local artist.

Budda’s work reflects on Vinnies Canberra/ Goulburn’s place – both geographically and culturally.

As described by Budda: The large circle represents both Ngambri and Ngunnawal peoples.

The smaller circles represent our neighbouring nations: Wiradjuri, Yuin, Ngarigo, Gundungurra and Walgalu.

The dotted painting that looks like mountains represents the Brindabellas.

The background is the ancestors of our neighboring nations, and the lines represent the Murrumbidgee.

Reconciliation Action Plan, Artwork by Budda Connors

Reconciliation Action Plan 2024

Download the St Vincent de Paul Society Canberra/Goulburn Reconciliation Action Plan

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