The St George Illawarra Dragons have today launched their inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which will run until the completion of the 2019 NRL Telstra Premiership season.
The development and official launch of the Dragons' Reconciliation Action Plan incorporates a review of the club's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander commitments, the formal establishment of a RAP working group and engagement with internal staff and other key corporate and community stakeholders.
The RAP and the Dragons' vision for reconciliation is an inclusive Australia for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, histories and cultures as well as support the nation's aim to close the gap.
The Dragons' RAP – which has been officially endorsed and approved by Reconciliation Australia – will ensure the club continues to contribute to stronger long-term relationships with all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
St George Illawarra Indigenous player representative, front-rower Josh Kerr, has been heavily involved in the RAP's development and was pleased to see it finally come to fruition.
"The RAP aims to acknowledge the cultural difference between Australia's different walks of life," Kerr said.
"I’m pretty excited about the RAP as it's something that has been in the works for a couple of years now. When I was shown the first draft of it, I realised it was something special to be a part of as well.
"It's a very significant occasion for my family and I, and I was honoured to be involved."
Dragons Community manager Paul Everill described the RAP as a huge day in the history of the club.
"This is a momentous occasion for our club, that already boasts significant cultural and community initiatives aimed at improving the lives of many," Everill said.
"The club respects the unique position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as the First Peoples of our nation, and values the contribution they make to our country, our community, to our sport and to our club.
"The Dragons core values of pride, respect, inclusion and commitment are the keystones of our business and the RAP highlight these."
University of Wollongong Pro Vice Chancellor Paul Chandler – who is a committee member of the Reconciliation Working Group – said it was fitting the Dragons chose NAIDOC week to launch the RAP.
"The RAP launch highlights the Dragons' commitment and readiness to develop and test innovative approaches to reconciliation, and champion reconciliation at every level of their organisation," Chandler said.
"The University of Wollongong are extremely proud to partner with the St George Illawarra Dragons in the delivery of a range of resources and Indigenous learning programs to schools across our region."
The Dragons' RAP sets out 19 actions with a number of deliverables expected to be fulfilled within each.
Each action is built on four pillars:
- Developing and maintaining relationships within the community;
- Recognising respect;
- Creating opportunities for greater community benefit within the Dragons' huge catchment area, and;
- Tracking and progress