Our reconciliation journey so far

Our reconciliation journey so far

This National Reconciliation Week, Sonder is proud to share insights into the work we have achieved on our reconciliation journey so far.

Our ‘Respect’, ‘Relationships’ and ‘Opportunities’ Working Groups have been busy assisting us to bring Sonder’s vision for reconciliation to life – Better Care, Better Health & Better Access through a culturally safe workplace which builds understanding, respect and shared responsibility along with community leadership in our reconciliation journey.

Our Working Groups are made up of passionate staff at Sonder who continuously develop strategies to improve cultural safety in our workplace.

‘Respect’ Working Group

Key established actions:

  • Cultural awareness training for all staff.
  • Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dates of significance, including email campaigns providing information behind the history of significant dates.
  • Traditional Owner or Custodians invited to provide a Welcome to Country for all significant events.

‘Relationships’ Working Group

Key established actions:

  • In February 2022, staff watched Larissa Behrendt’s film, After the Apology, and Martin Pascoe answered questions and shared his experience and advocacy as a Stolen Generations survivor.
  • Sonder supports staff across the organisation to attend the annual National Apology Day and National Reconciliation Week breakfast events.

Relationships are a core part of reconciliation as they are what bring and hold us together and are central to ensuring we are connected and attuned to the evolving needs of our communities.

Relationships are crucial for us to be able to listen, learn and be led by community voices and needs. Our ‘Relationships’ Working Group has focused on building relationships through staff and community events during significant dates, and providing opportunities to educate staff and senior leaders on the ongoing effects of racism and colonisation.

For us, we wanted these events to be real opportunities to learn about our history and how it connects with the present, as well as chances for all staff to reflect on our collective responsibility to address racism within the health sector.”

Schania Czygan, Indigenous Health Project Officer  at Sonder and member of the ‘Relationships’ Working Group shared her reflections on the work the group has been undertaking –

True reconciliation can only progress through the acceptance of the full history of Australia and finding a shared pathway forward to ensure the wrongs of the past are listened to, righted, acknowledged and undertaking a commitment to ongoing truth telling to ensure history never repeats itself.

‘Opportunities’ Working Group

Key established actions:

  • Appointed an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander member to Sonder’s board (Dr Kali Hayward).
  • HR and recruitment procedures have been reviewed.
  • Linked up with registered training organisations such as AHCSA and Centacare to support additional student placements.
  • Successfully supported an Aboriginal student at university with a paid internship during university holidays.
  • Implemented an Annual Training Program for all staff including Aboriginal Cultural Respect Training and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Trauma Informed Cultural Capability Training.
  • Sonder sits on the Department of Treasury and Finance’s Aboriginal Cluster Program to support additional pathways to employment by sharing resources.
  • 5 traineeships or scholarships are offered to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and Sonder has supported 10 scholarships in total.

Tori Doherty, Workforce Training and Development Officer at Sonder and member of the ‘Opportunities’ Working Group shared her reflections on the work the group has been undertaking –

While driving the ‘Opportunities’ Working Group, it’s been a pleasure to work alongside so many passionate people, to be able to genuinely affect the direction of the organisation and to continue to learn and be inspired by our people, their lived experience and their values. Reconciliation for me, means a step in the right direction and a commitment to keep up this momentum.

Chris Chalubek, Executive Manager, Mental Health & AOD added –

Being part of the ‘Opportunities’ Working Group is a great privilege. Our endeavours in to build opportunities for leadership, employment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples becomes part of the fabric of the relationships we build.

The future

Sonder looks forward to sharing more insights into other projects we are working towards implementing that will enhance our inclusive workplace.

For more information about our journey, read our ‘Innovate’ Reconciliation Action Plan.

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