12 Nov 2020

A port authority with a wide footprint from Cape York to Hay Point on the east coast has worked with Traditional Owners to release a Reconciliation Action Plan aimed at building capacity, opportunities and greater cultural acknowledgement and awareness.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation (NQBP) has taken an important step on its reconciliation journey launching its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) during NAIDOC Week.

CEO Nicolas Fertin said the NQBP Reconciliation Action Plan 2020 to 2022 builds on NQBP’s existing relationships with Traditional Owners in its port communities throughout Queensland.

“NQBP has been actively engaging and building relationships with the Traditional Owners of the land and sea at each of our ports over several decades,” Mr Fertin said.

“This has included procurement through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses, community engagement through sponsorships and most recently recognition of language with the naming of Gudyara Road in Mackay.

“This RAP extends our engagement and is a further commitment to actions identified in collaboration with Traditional Owners that aim to lead to positive outcomes for the broader Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities within our Port areas.

“It includes engaging staff and stakeholders in reconciliation and developing and piloting innovative strategies to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Our vision for Reconciliation is to build sustainable and meaningful partnerships and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“We will strive to enhance reconciliation through embracing diversity, building respect and providing equitable opportunities.

“The development of the RAP included engagement with our Traditional Owner groups; Juru at Abbot Point, Yuwi at Mackay and Hay Point and the Algnith and Wik Waya at Weipa.”

Endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, NQBP’s RAP outlines the actions the organisation will take under the key focus areas of relationships, respect, opportunities and governance.

Reconciliation Australia Chief Executive Officer Karen Mundine commended NQBP on the formal endorsement of its inaugural Innovate RAP.

“Implementing an Innovate RAP signals North Queensland Bulk Ports’ readiness to develop and strengthen relationships, engage staff and stakeholders in reconciliation, and pilot innovative strategies to ensure effective outcomes,” Ms Mundine said.

“Getting these steps right will ensure the sustainability of future RAPs and reconciliation initiatives, and provide meaningful impact toward Australia’s reconciliation journey.

“Congratulations North Queensland Bulk Ports on your Innovate RAP and I look forward to following your ongoing reconciliation journey.”

The RAP features original artwork ‘Protecting Life through Knowledge’ and was prepared for NQBP by artist and designer, Casey Coolwell, a Quandamooka, Nunukul woman with traditional ties to North Stradbroke Island on her father's side and linkages to the Aboriginal and South Sea Islander people of Bowen and Mardigan people of Eulo through her mother's side.

NQBP's Reconciliation journey

“The artwork represents the communities of NQBP’s ports (Mackay, Weipa, Abbot Point and Hay Point) and their surrounding waters,” Ms Coolwell said.

“In our Aboriginal Dreaming we believe that when we pass away, we come back as an animal or plant. The Turtle in the art piece represents an Ancestoral Being protecting the surrounding waters.”

“The yellow ‘rock’ pattern represents a traditional fish trap. This holds valuable knowledge of how people hunted and gathered, using natural resources.

“Learning how the fish trap works and maintaining its powerful knowledge is indicated in the gathered dots outside the fish trap.

“The artwork includes a pattern illustrating the scales of a fish and another representing the four different communities and their connections to the land and surrounding seas.

“Coloured icons signify the four different communities with the dotted lines representing communications, tracking and trading lines.

“Each gathered circle throughout the pattern represents community coming together in a yarning circle.

“The background ‘spiral’ pattern indicates the ripples of the water, as each of the four communities is located on the edge of the land and sea,” Ms Coolwell said.

Read a copy of the Reconciliation Action Plan

More on NQBP's Indigenous Relations activities.

North Queensland Bulk Ports Corporation contact:
Amanda Blines | Senior Advisor Community Relations
07 4969 0774 | ablines@nqbp.com.au

Images and vision for download