By John Wynne | 2 Jun 2016

National Reconciliation Week is a significant event, celebrating the milestones of the 1967 referendum recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people, and the ground-breaking Mabo native title decision. It is an important time for all Australians to contemplate the relationship between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people and the broader community.

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Urbis acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the traditional custodians of lands on which we do business, and we pay our respects to Elders, past and present. We acknowledge the important contribution that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people make in creating a strong and vibrant Australian society.

Urbis aspires to be a great firm, and to be so, we believe it is essential to genuinely embrace reconciliation with the First Australians.

Melbourne RAP 4We are using National Reconciliation Week to highlight our commitment to reconciliation. The adoption of our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) earlier this year was an important step in fostering meaningful change in supporting reconciliation within our firm and in the environments in which we work.

At the heart of our RAP is commitment to develop actions strengthening our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, businesses and organisations achieved by:

  • Strengthening understanding of issues of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • Enhancing our internship and recruitment processes to ensure they are more culturally inclusive in meeting the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people;
  • Using our influence to improve national planning frameworks enhancing the economic, social and physical opportunities associated with Aboriginal owned lands;
  • Fostering engagement with traditional owners/custodian groups about the history of the land where Urbis is working; and
  • Building relationships internally and externally to ensure a shared understanding and ownership of our Reconciliation Action Plan.

 

Urbis proudly celebrates National Reconciliation Week with a series of events and activities in our four offices. A special morning tea was held in each city on Thursday 2 June, involving Welcome to Country ceremonies provided by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elders, and the reveal of artwork designed for Urbis by Tarisse and Sarrita King, reflecting our commitment to reconciliation.

Artists:  Tarisse King & Sarrita King

Connecting Land Clan – Gurindji Area: Katherine, NT

Commissioned by Urbis, the four paintings express the beauty of the Australian landscape and the connection it has to its people, while revealing the history and lessons the land can teach us.

Half of each panel is painted by Tarrise, and consists of organic symbols representing the country’s waterways, tracks and other life giving features of the land – both seen and unseen. The other half is painted by Sarrita, representing the unseen markings of the land with the geometric shapes used to symbolise the language of the Earth. Each painting is unique, but together, the four panels collectively form a single, complete image.

The King Sisters believe we all have responsibility in respecting the lands of Australia, as we work to shape great cities and communities, with a positive impact for people. There is no doubt it is the teaching and life-giving attributes of the land of this country that have contributed to the culture, values, traditions, customs and beliefs of Indigenous Australians. By committing to listen to these teachings, we can form a greater connection to the land and achieve meaningful change.

Unveiling the artwork across the Urbis offices with our special guests in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Brisbane.