The theme for NAIDOC Week 2021 is ‘Heal Country, Heal Our Nation’ and calls for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage.
For WSP, NAIDOC Week is a key plank in our decade-long Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), and we are hosting a series of internal and external virtual events around the Country to progress Aboriginal affairs and deepen the conversations around reconciliation, participation and the importance of connecting to Country.
“Celebrating NAIDOC week and taking the opportunity to learn more about Aboriginal Australia by building relationships with Aboriginal people and organisations and through improved cultural awareness are key tenets of WSP’s RAP,” says Russell Reid, National RAP Lead & Senior Aboriginal Affairs and Participation Consultant. “WSP’s RAP commitments include support for our staff to attend NAIDOC events.
“NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.”
NAIDOC WEEK 2021 at WSP
Today, as part of the WSP LIVE Town Hall Series for our 4,000 Australian staff, Guy Templeton, CEO Asia Pacific will be having a yarn with Peter Morris, General Manager for Reconciliation Australia on how we can start to heal Country – personally and professionally – and drive greater reconciliation in our everyday lives. Also participating in the discussion will be Russell Reid, National RAP Lead & Senior Aboriginal Affairs and Participation Consultant and Charlie Jewkes, RAP ELT Champion & Director of Transport.
During the rest of the week, all Australian office will host or participate in a range of live or online activities including a Yarning session with Uncle Des in Brisbane to delve into the Aboriginal history of the city, a Lunch & Learn Session in Canberra on Cultural Awareness Training, and a range of social events catered by Indigenous suppliers in Newcastle and Perth.
External events – for clients, suppliers & stakeholders
Our Perth office will host a WSP Virtual Event titled, Aboriginal Design Principles – practical advice using real project examples’. Presented by members of our WSP Indigenous Specialist Services Team, you can register here for one of our two sessions: Thursday 8 July – 12:30pm (EST) or Friday 9 July – 2:30pm (EST).
WSP’s Indigenous Specialist Services Team has worked on a range of projects including the Southern Program Alliance.
According to Allan Murray, Senior Manager, Indigenous Participation & Outcomes, “It is important for WSP and its clients to connect to Country, because all projects being developed are on traditional lands. “By including the Aboriginal understanding from 60,000 years of knowledge, of cultural values, stories and lore, we share stories of how our ancestors engineered water and fire for example. Our ancestors of course were the first engineers.”
Here's one thing we can all do to heal Country
“Be curious and come on the journey,” says Allan.
“Acknowledge Country. Take a moment to respect our Elders, past and present. As an individual, by honouring and respecting the Traditional Owners, you go on a journey of discovery and understanding.”
Allan describes Aboriginal people as educators. He says that by starting the journey of understanding about Aboriginal culture, you will gain knowledge and awareness.
For more information visit our Indigenous Participation page or find out more about NAIDOC Week here.