Our reconciliation journey

01 August 2023
Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Elder Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin performing a Welcome to Country as part of the launch of Project Culitvate at Melbourne General Cemetery

The Southern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust (SMCT) is committed to listening and learning as we work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from across our communities.

SMCT has undertaken work on a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Since 2006, RAPs have enabled organisations to sustainably and strategically take meaningful action to advance reconciliation.

Based around the core pillars of relationships, respect and opportunities, RAPs provide tangible and substantive benefits for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, increasing economic equity and supporting self-determination.

Our inaugural RAP highlights our foundational work in building relationships and forming links with community.

Walking together - community collobaration

One of the ways we are working towards the goals of our RAP is by engaging with culturally safe and inclusive Indigenous spaces such as Doveton Gathering Place and Nairm Marr Djamban.

Another is by engaging on-site with Indigenous-led organisations including Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, Nomuckerlener Indigenous Consulting, Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Cultural Heritage Aboriginal Corporation, and the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service. These in-person engagements are vital to listening, fostering relationships, and promoting open conversation on essential topics such as the appropriate use of language and local history and customs.

Image: SMCT CEO Laz Cotsios planting a Golden Wattle with Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung Elder Aunty Joy Murphy Wandin as part of inaugural work for Project Cultivate.

Our sites have proudly hosted several Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremonies this year. We have also launched important environmental initiatives such as Project Cultivate at Melbourne General Cemetery <link to smct.org.au/cultivate> with input from Traditional Owners, and are designing a memorial for early pregnancy loss that will incorporate indigenous and native plants to promote a connection to Country.

Each year we share communications regarding National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week, have produced an Acknowledgment of Country guide for our teams, and are collaborating with Reconciliation Australia (RA) and Girraway Ganyi Consultancy on the development of the RAP.

We will continue to work closely with consultants, Traditional Owners and community organisations to support the ongoing development of our RAP and to ensure it reflects our shared vision of welcome, inclusion and understanding.

SMCT is committed to continuing our listening and learning on this journey towards reconciliation.

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