It’s a RAP – Tasmania Medicare Local launches reconciliation plan

TASMANIA Medicare Local (TML) recently launched its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people at the Bahá’i Centre of Learning for Tasmania in Hobart recently.

TML chair Judith Watson officially launched the plan and said it was about organisations, including TML, documenting how they would contribute to reconciliation in Australia.

“It is about turning good intentions into real actions,” she said.

“This plan is a significant step forward in the reconciliation process and is an important progression of TML’s commitment to improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Tasmania.”

Local Aboriginal elder Aunty Brenda Hodge conducted the Welcome to Country protocol for the event.

Tasmanian archaeologist and Aboriginal community member Emma Lee enthusiastically spoke to the event’s guests about the importance of reconciliation in Tasmania.

“I congratulate Tasmania Medicare Local for taking the first steps of an ongoing journey in a quest for reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Ms Lee said.

“This plan recognises that TML can provide a solid foundation for economic benefit and the positive cascade of health and wellbeing outcomes by supporting Aboriginal people and culture.”

TML chief executive officer Phil Edmondson said a working group with representation from across the organisation, including Aboriginal staff, helped to build the plan.

“A Reconciliation Action Plan is a living document and an ongoing commitment for TML to build respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and the wider community,” he said.

“It is about raising awareness and understanding issues affecting communities, and creating networks that generate local opportunities and solutions.

“TML is contributing to change by creating opportunities, building relationships and growing respect for Tasmanian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“We would like to encourage other Tasmanian organisations to take up the opportunity of working with reconciliation Australian and the Aboriginal community to develop their own reconciliation action plan.”

Four local Aboriginal aritsts were also recognised and their artworks displayed during the RAP launch.

TML commissioned the works after an expression of interest process earlier this year.

The works will be displayed in TML offices in Ulverstone, Launceston and Hobart.

The artists selected were Dane Chisholm, from Beaumaris on the east coast, Leigh Oates, from the Huon Valley, Tanya Wells, from the north west coast and Jeanette James, of Hobart.

TML’s new visual identity for Aboriginal Health Programs (a traditional shell necklace by jewellery maker Jeanette James) was also officially unveiled. Her design features on the cover and inside the Reconciliation Action Plan.

TML receives funding from the Australian Government Department of Health to provide a range of health and wellbeing services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Tasmania.

The new Reconciliation Action Plan will be available on TML’s website via www.tasmedicarelocal.com.au.

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