CVGT Australia celebrates NAIDOC Week 2021

NAIDOC Week is an important week for CVGT Australia as our staff continue to celebrate, recognise and respect the history, culture and achievements of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We have connected with many community groups to be involved with NAIDOC Week activities. In central Victoria, we are a proud sponsor of the Bendigo NAIDOC Week Committee, which organised a host of great events in the region.

Our NAIDOC Week began with our Indigenous Communities Liaison Officer and proud Palawa woman, Rhonda attending the NAIDOC Week flag-raising ceremony in Bendigo.

Rhonda also appeared in our NAIDOC Week video where she provides an insight into her role supporting our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for the past 13 years, and our commitment to building strong partnerships with our Indigenous communities.

Rhonda is involved in our Indigenous School-Based Apprenticeship Training program, which places young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander with local companies and builds connections with the broader Australian community.

In the video Rhonda mentions the installation of Acknowledgement of Country plaques at CVGT Australia office locations in Victoria, News South Wales and Tasmania.

“It’s wonderful to see how far we’ve come and we’re actually acknowledging the Country that we’re on in each of our areas. It’s very exciting,” says Rhonda.

We engaged an Aboriginal-owned and operated business, Kinya Lerrk, to produce our plaques, which feature a gum leaf design by co-founders and designers Megan Van Den Berg and Emma Douglas Bamblett.

In Shepparton, one of our team members, Chris, a Yorta Yorta man, and his family helped us mark NAIDOC Week with a Smoking Ceremony and gathering with guests sharing food and conversation. Chris acknowledged and paid respects to our First Nations peoples with an Acknowledgment of Country. His sister, Lilly, sang a song in the Yorta Yorta language and students from Cooking 4 Life provided the Indigenous-inspired food. Kuku Yalanji woman and artist Melinda painted a canvas and asked people to add their contribution. The artwork represents a meeting place for people to come together and features the colours of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander flags. It will be displayed in our Shepparton office.

As a not-for-profit organisation, we’re committed to giving back to our communities through grants and sponsorships. Our Westgate branch has marked NAIDOC Week by sponsoring North Sunshine Football Club’s game against Sunshine Heights on Saturday. Upcoming Indigenous artist Emma Douglas Bamblett designed the specially commissioned jumpers.

Celebrating NAIDOC Week is just one way our staff are connecting with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and developing our knowledge and understanding of Indigenous cultures and histories.

Our Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) outlines the actions we are taking to develop long-term, beneficial and reciprocal partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities in the areas in which we work.

CVGT Australia managing director Jason Russell says: “We are committed to building economic and social inclusion for our communities and working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to co-design approaches and programs that support closing the employment gap.

“We are committed to working with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities for significant and lasting change, not only on NAIDOC Week, but all year round. We acknowledge there is still much to do and we believe every step we take to reconciliation counts.”

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