May 27 to June 3 marks National Reconciliation Week in Australia, when the country reflects on its nation’s history and acknowledges the significance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in Australian identity. At DT Global, we are honoured to celebrate this week and to continue our reconciliation work as part of our broader diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.
This year’s theme for the week—"More than a word, Reconciliation takes action”—is a call to all Australians that reconciliation is an active process that requires real change above and beyond compelling rhetoric. It is not something we purely observe or passively interpret. It requires changing how we think, act, and perform our daily duties. It requires policies and actions that acknowledge, accept, and understand the wrongdoings of the past and the impact these have on today’s First Nation Peoples. It requires the courage to act on rectifying these injustices today. DT Global is committed to embracing this ideal and working towards a more inclusive, diverse future.
May 2021 marks just over halfway in the implementation of DT Global’s Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Not only is implementing the RAP increasing our awareness of First Nations’ histories, cultures, and traditions—it is also helping DT Global to evolve into a more inclusive, holistic, and impactful business.
Through our work, we have come to better understand that reconciliation is a complex process that takes time, genuine commitment, and leadership who are ready and willing to step outside their comfort zone. It requires willingness to change what we have always done, and rethink what we have understood to be ‘best practice.’ Implementing this plan helps us to understand that we can have an impact that starts with the individual and builds into collective action. Through this collective action and the consistent implementation of the Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan across our programs and home offices, we believe that DT Global can emerge as a genuine partner and leader in the reconciliation process.
In practice, our Reflect RAP is integrated throughout our policies and goals, with the intention of helping us to become truly one DT Global, to emerge as an employer of choice, to drive responsible profitable growth, and to lead in innovation and thought leadership. Since the adoption of our first plan in late 2020, RAP activities have already added value and contributed to our resilience and ability to grow and continue creating impact through our work—even with the uncertainty of the past year.
To better understand the histories, cultures, and traditions of Australia’s First Nations Peoples, we sought guidance directly from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander partners, taking the time to meet with, sit and listen to Kokatha and Kaurna Elders. “We must appreciate that within Aboriginal communities there can be different versions of unknown or untold stories, far above and beyond what can be found searching online about certain events, traditions and practices. Just because one version is published or accessible does not make it complete,” says DT Global Director of People and Culture (and Reconciliation Working Group member) Robyn Cleggett.
We have become more critical in our learning and more sensitive to the diversity of cultural norms represented by First Nations. With more research and understanding of the histories, stories, and cultures of the First Nations we can create strong foundations for mutually beneficial relationships. We have strengthened our existing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and organisations, and formally partnered with a range of businesses in pursuit of delivering better development outcomes. For instance, with Kennelly Constructions, a Supply Nation Certified contractor (an Australian certification standard for Indigenous contractors) we aim to set a new benchmark in the industry for facilitating Indigenous participation outcomes.
We have completed baseline assessments on our internal training needs, recognising that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness training is a commitment all Australian-based employees should complete as part of their learning at DT Global. Delivered through our Learning Management System, over half of DT Global Australian employees have completed this training to date, with a target of 100% by the end of our Reflect RAP in September 2021.
The DT Global RAP Working Group continues to garner support from our Global Leadership Group and has shared information on First Nations- and Reconciliation-related topics at each of our Australia office staff meetings. Our Working Group members continue to actively engage in events and activities in their local areas, helping us to learn and shape our own unique RAP journey. This has raised awareness of Reconciliation internally, and we are pleased to see increased engagement and willingness of staff to contribute and reflect on their own Reconciliation journeys, reinforcing our collective action and commitment.
We have reviewed our Australia home office businesses processes and enhanced accounting and data collection systems to help us better understand our domestic spending and staffing in relation to First Nations-owned businesses and staff. We’ve created a baseline with which to quantify, monitor, and report on our commitment to First Nations suppliers and staff. Internally, we have made an in-principle commitment to sourcing 100% of our domestic spend from Indigenous suppliers where practicable. We have also strengthened our workplace policies and procedures to reinforce inclusivity of First Nations Peoples and ensure that industry-leading approaches to race-relations and anti-discrimination are part of our standard approach.
In the final period of our Reflect RAP, we look to the future and how we can continue to build on our achievements in the next RAP. We will review and analyse our activities to ensure their sustainable impact, report on the findings, and share broadly. We will look at how we can do better, and how we can do more. We will challenge ourselves individually and as an organisation to move from ‘safe, to brave.’ We look forward to expanding our network, forging new relationships, and creating new opportunities for First Nations Peoples. And we will continue to refine our systems, processes, and internal culture to be more inclusive.
At DT Global, our purpose is to create impact and transform lives for a better world. This National Reconciliation Week, we are pleased to say we are taking action, and acknowledge that our journey has just begun to ensure a more just, equitable, and united country with a better future for our First Nations Peoples. While we are just at the beginning of a long journey, we’re excited for the challenge.