10 July 2018

BECAUSE OF HER, WE CAN…BUILD AWARENESS OF THE IMPORTANCE OF RECONCILIATION

As a city kid who was born and raised in Brisbane, moving to the Northern Territory as an adult was a real eye opener for me. Having spent more than a decade of my life in Darwin, I have had the opportunity to be exposed to a demographic that you wouldn’t see anywhere else. My exposure to Indigenous culture taught me so much about the history of our nation’s first people and this is something I think is important for each and every Australian to learn and understand. I am proud to be employed at a socially conscious company such as BMD who recognises the importance of acknowledging the Traditional Owners of the land on which we work, and who are making a real impact as we strive to achieve reconciliation in Australia. As a member of BMD’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) working group, I see firsthand the effort that goes into educating our employees about the importance of Indigenous culture through participation in events such as National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week. BMD’s commitment to rolling out cultural awareness training nationwide has also had a profound impact on helping the company improve opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within our project and corporate workforce, something which is a priority for me in my role as Southern Region Manager looking after BMD Urban’s operations within the Northern Territory, Victoria, Western Australian and South Australia. Within each state, BMD works with local Indigenous agencies to encourage employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. I am also very proud of our strong, long-term relationship with the Clontarf Foundation who works to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men. I have been involved in the Clontarf Foundation for a number of years by working with them locally in Darwin. In 2015, BMD formalised our support of the organisation and since then have supplied financial funding and in-kind support through participation in various employment forums, the establishment of a site visit program, and by attending sporting carnivals with the students. In the coming weeks, a group of Clontarf students will conduct a one week work experience placement with BMD in Victoria. Five students have already obtained their construction white cards to ensure they have the opportunity to work in a real-life construction environment. I think this year’s NAIDOC Week theme, Because of her, we can! is a fantastic topic to celebrate. I am surrounded by countless strong women in both my professional and personal lives and believe it is important for women, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, to be recognised for the significant contribution they make to society. The female members of our RAP working group have had an invaluable impact on BMD’s journey towards achieving reconciliation and without them I don’t think we would have accomplished as much as we have been able to. I look forward to continuing to grow awareness and understanding of Indigenous culture within BMD through both my personal experiences and by working with groups such as Clontarf and Indigenous employment agencies. Together, I think we can actively acknowledge our country’s history and move forward to close the gap and ultimately achieve reconciliation. Go Tiwi Bombers!! (Check out the team’s overview video here and the star player, Ross Tungatalum’s highlight reel here) Richie Southern Region Manager, BMD Urban

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