Make Reconciliation More Than A Word

For National Reconciliation Week, we need to ask ourselves the question, “Who do we want to be?”

During National Reconciliation Week (NRW) from 27 May to 3 Jun, Aurion and our parent company, the Chandler Macleod Group (CMG), took the time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their culture.

Kyra Galante, a Guburn (Kupurn) woman from the Goldfields region of Western Australia with connections to Noongar Country, was General Manager of Chandler Macleod Indigenous Strategy until April 2020.

For NRW, Kyra hosted a webinar to introduce our teams to the history, symbolism and aims of National Reconciliation Week. She showed us how Reconciliation is #MoreThanAWord, and that it will require self-determination for Indigenous people and communities to thrive.

The journey Kyra took us on covered what Australia is doing about Reconciliation, and importantly what Chandler Macleod Group is doing about it.

As a key influencer behind the development of Chandler Macleod Group’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Kyra commented that she joined CMG because of the company’s value of ‘Unleashing Potential’. Kyra said, “I believe our core principles align with what is required to have a reconciled nation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the wider community.”

During her time with CMG, in 2017 Kyra was presented with the Telstra Women in Business Award for the Corporate and Private sector, Queensland.

“A Reconciliation Action Plan is not about changing what has happened in the past,” said Kyra, “but about acknowledging our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and looking to develop a positive future for all.”

From awareness to action
Kyra’s presentation began with the history and symbolism of National Reconciliation Week. The dates for NRW are the same each year, 27 May to 3 June. These dates commemorate two significant milestones in the Reconciliation journey – the successful 1967 referendum, and the High Court Mabo decision respectively.

She explained that the goal of the reconciliation movement is for a just, equitable and reconciled country. It will only be achieved when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the First Peoples of this land, are able to equally contribute to daily life of the nation. Until this happens, Australia will not reach its full potential.

“We need more people speaking up,” Kyra said, “asking the hard questions and taking action during and beyond National Reconciliation Week.

Kyra then took us through the five dimensions of Reconciliation, as defined by Reconciliation Australia: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity and unity.

She also shared some of her personal experiences of racism. In June 2020 Kyra’s husband, Anthony Galante, Manager, Indigenous Employment at Minerals Australia, BHP, wrote an article In the Silence There’s No One Listening, to shine the light on racism he and Kyra had experienced.

Kyra then suggested actions to help us move from awareness of Reconciliation to action:

  • Attend Survival Day/Invasion Day rallies
  • Speak up and tackle injustices against my people
  • Participate in NRW in your community, and your clients’ and childrens’ schools
  • Support the RAP Working Group to deliver on CMG’s actions
  • Employ Indigenous people and support their training and education

The Challenge of Reconciliation
During the webinar Kyra challenged us all to ask ourselves: who we are and who we want to be, and to educate ourselves to not have a Historical Blindspot.

She quoted the eloquent words of the Uluru Statement from the Heart, “When we have power over our destiny our children will flourish. They will walk in two worlds and their culture will be a gift to their country.”

In an email to all team members for National Reconciliation Week, Peter Acheson, CMG Chief Executive Officer, commented on the Group’s commitment to improving the socio-economic circumstances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People.

“At Chandler Macleod, we believe we all have a part to play on this journey of learning and reconciliation,” said Acheson.

“In addition to our Solid Start initiatives providing employment opportunities for Indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples, we look towards further engagement with the communities where we operate along with increasing our commitment to supplier partnerships with Indigenous-owned businesses.”

Looking with hope to the future, Kyra commented, “One day we won’t need the special pathways programs because we’ll all be equal.”

About Kyra Galante
Kyra has over 20 years’ experience working for a range of companies to help develop and deliver Indigenous community engagement, recruitment, candidate selection and mentoring strategies.

She has worked extensively across Western Australia, with a national footprint, for a range of mining, civil and recruitment companies, including delivering the Kworp Kooling Indigenous Mining Skills Program at BHP Billiton. She won the Chamber of Minerals & Energies Outstanding Woman in Resources Award in 2014 for her contribution to the resources industry.

Kyra is the Senior Regional Development Officer at the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia. She is also Chair of Ganbina, Australia’s most successful Indigenous school-to-work transition program.

Find out more on how we express our company values at Aurion: see our blogs – Aurion Celebrates NAIDOC Week and Today’s The Day To Support Indigenous Literacy

Visit the National Reconciliation Week website for more information.

We would like to acknowledge and pay our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, past, present and emerging, whose land we stand upon today.