SNAICC (the national non-governmental peak body for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children) held its 10th National Conference on the lands of the Larrakia people in Darwin in September.

Andrea Greenwood (GM, Service Delivery) and I attended the conference as part of Concern Australia’s commitment to continually strengthening cultural understanding and practices. This is to ensure we are an organisation where our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, volunteers and staff flourish.

There were a wide range of seminars covering many issues, enhanced by stories and examples of innovative practice by – and in partnership with – Indigenous communities. We connected with many people doing creative, inspirational work. It was also an important reminder of the value of deep listening and taking the time and resources to invest in genuine, respectful partnerships.

The conference was also a time to reflect on Concern Australia’s longstanding commitments. I was reminded of some of the things Auntie Jean said at the funeral service for the Reverend Dr John Smith:

“John had a real heart for justice.

John looked at the history of this nation, and we’re still dealing with that history today.

I trust that many of you will come on the journey with us like John has.”

Concern Australia is committed to this journey, and we recognise that it will take investment and humility as we navigate what it means in 2023 and beyond. We are grateful that we are building on a strong legacy which will be an inspiration and guide to us.

Many learnings from the SNAICC Conference will be shared with our staff in the months to come, which will greatly support the implementation of our Reconciliation Action Plan.

I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

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