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Salvation Army works towards reconciliation with new plan

THE Salvation Army has partnered with Reconciliation Tasmania to launch its Reconciliation Action Plan that allows organisations to implement reconciliation activities in their workplaces and services.

The plan was launched on 15 March, providing the public with a platform to continue its journey with the state’s Indigenous community toward reconciliation.

Salvation Army Tasmania public relations officer Major Brad Watson said the Reconciliation Action Plan provided the means to positively engage with Tasmania’s Indigenous people.

“The aim is to recognise the truth of our shared history, understand the present including the discrepancies between opportunities and life expectancy in our society, and also walk together with our First Nations people toward a transformed and healed future,” he said.

“It provides us with practical steps that we can implement in each of our sites to ensure we are recognising the oldest surviving culture in the world, creating spaces to share cultures and stories, and build unity.”

Major Watson said the Salvation Army recognised that Aboriginal people had experienced grievous and sustained loss and discrimination since European arrival, and sought to be part of the solution in redressing these injustices.

“For the Indigenous community this should provide the Salvation Army with a means whereby we are held accountable for ensuring culturally appropriate service delivery, recognition of important events, support for Aboriginal business through a check of our supply chains, training for our staff and further collaborative partnerships with Aboriginal associations,” he said.

“For the wider community, it provides another avenue through which a larger community institution is taking seriously the unfinished business of reconciliation and an avenue for their contribution to this cause as they volunteer with us or support us.”

Guests at the event were welcomed to Muwinina country by Aunty Kris Shaeffer, who also gave a lesson using some local native flora before the Salvation Army national chief secretary Colonel Winsome Merrett presented and launched the plan.

Tasmanian Aboriginal artist Alan Mansell also launched his artwork ‘Unfinished Business’ before the afternoon finished with a shared afternoon tea and a challenge from state leader Captain Kim Haworth to ensure the plan wasn’t just a document, but an active plan.

Caption: From left, Salvation Army Tasmania divisional commander Captain Kim Haworth, Allan Mansell, Councilor Zelinda Sherlock and Salvation Army Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ministries manager, Shirley Congoo.

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