The comprehensive plan of action for Power and Water to achieve its vision is detailed in its 2023-2025 Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, launched in Mparntwe (Alice Springs) in June this year and celebrated on Larrakia Country in Darwin a month later.
Power and Water’s role in delivering safe and reliable power, water, waste water and gas services impacts every Territorians.
It’s a role that provides a unique platform to listen, learn, educate and lead in reconciliation and foster respect and understanding amongst all Territorians.
“It’s a responsibility we take seriously,” Power and Water Chief Executive Djuna Pollard says.
“Through our first Reconciliation Action Plan, released in 2017, we embedded our commitment to reconciliation through a focus on cultural learning and inclusion, employment and training opportunities, and economic and social participation.
“Our second RAP builds on that work as we move forward on our reconciliation journey through meaningful partnerships with and learning from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
Power and Water’s RAP Working Group draws its members from across the organisation as the governing body to oversee the development, implementation and reporting on the RAP’s actions and outcomes.
Each brings their own perspectives and experience to what reconciliation means to them.
The RAP Working Group Chair, Hmalan Hunter-Xénié is looking towards a stronger future.
“I believe it’s about setting stronger foundations for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples to work better together in all areas of society,” Hmalan says.
Fellow Working Group member John Anstess believes reconciliation will support unity.
“Reconciliation is the uniting and recognition of equality between all cultures, accepting and forgiving what has been done in the past,” John says.
The Working Group is supported and guided by a steering committee of leaders from within the The Power and Water Board’s People, Safety, Sustainability and Reconciliation Committee provides guidance and direction on the implementation of policies and procedures to support a culturally aware workplace.
Pillars for action
The 2023–2025 Innovate RAP is built around four pillars to help achieve its goals.
Relationships – gaining a deeper understanding of experiences past and present to cultivate stronger relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, customers and community members.
Respect – instilling the importance of respect at every level of Power and Water, thereby ensuring that relationships are always fostered through an understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures.
Opportunities – maximising the opportunities that exist for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through Power and Water’s significant operations across the Territory.
Governance – holding themselves to account through the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group and Steering Committee to ensure their intentions are translated into actions.
Connection to energy and water
Power and Water operates across 1.3 million square kilometres in diverse environmental conditions, in some of the most remote parts of Australia.
To ensure they are living the values of the Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, Power and Water engaged with Traditional Owners, Elders and artists across the Territory to identify local stories that highlight the continued connection and importance of energy and water, relevant to the Country they live and operate on and where their infrastructure is located.
Together, storytellers and artists created stunning images that will ultimately be showcased on strategic Power and Water infrastructure.
On Arrernte Country (Alice Springs), artists from Ewyenper Atwatye (Hidden Valley) – Beverly McMillan, Carol Young, Cheryl McMillan, Cheyene Abbott, Loretta Neil, Phyllis Stevens, Raelene McMillan, Stella McMillan and Tim McNamara – created Energy Comes From Thunder.
On Larrakia Country (Darwin), Jason Lee, Tony Lee and Trent Lee created Damibila (Barramundi) Dreaming, which can be seen on the Power and Water substation on Wood Street in Darwin’s CBD.
Also on Larrakia Country, June Mills, Kay Villaflor and Taleena Lui-Villaflor created My Dreaming Larrakia Spirits.
Abel Naborlhborlh, Linda Biyalwanga and Selone Djandjomerr from Mirrar Country (Jabiru) created a piece celebrating the story of the Ngalyod (water serpent), Yawkyawk (freshwater mermaid spirit) / Ngalkunburriyaymi (ancestral mermaid spirit).
Power and Water is continuing to work with Traditional Owners, Elders and the community of Jawoyn, Dagoman and Wardaman Country in Katherine and Warrumungu Country in Tennant Creek.