National NAIDOC Week celebrations mark the ‘history, culture and achievements’ of our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.  

It is community led and focused, and it is also an opportunity for all Australians to participate in learning about and celebrating our shared history and culture.  

This year, NAIDOC week falls on 3 – 10 July 2022. The theme is Get up! Stand up! Show up!  

We asked three members of DCA’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Advisory panel, and DCA member allies, to speak to each of these elements, and frame them as a call to action for fellow allies who want to participate in NAIDOC week – and every week.  

Kate Russell  

Awabakal (NSW) 

Kate – who is Chair of DCA’s Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander External Advisory Panel and a DCA Board Director – shares how businesses and their employees can Get Up to speed on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Inclusion.  

“I want all Australians to Get Up and educate themselves. Our community needs you to Get Up every day, not just at NAIDOC, and take responsibility for your own education. No matter how busy you are, there are resources available for all awareness levels that fit your schedule. You can read a book, listen to a podcast or join a DCA webinar.  

“Businesses in particular play an important role in supporting their employees to enhance their awareness. They can host awareness events, share resources with staff, purchase from First Nations businesses and publicly support a Voice to Parliament. There is no one size fits all approach to Get Up to speed on inclusion, but today is the day to push yourself to the next level.” 

Dennis Batty 

Taungurung (VIC)
Gunai/Kurnai (VIC) 

Dennis is Executive Director at Indigenous Employment Partners Ltd. He speaks to how businesses and individuals can Stand Up and be more active in their advocacy.  

“First, people must stop thinking of themselves as bystanders.  While standing up for inclusion must be led by First Nations Australians, most of the actions should be undertaken by the businesses who employ First Nations Australians and the individuals who work in those businesses. 

“Get out there and engage with your local First Nations community. Meet with them, talk, eat, laugh and play with your local First Nations community. 

“Engage with your local First Nations organisations and businesses. Buy, sell, employ and participate with your local community every day. 

“Finally, promote First Nations voices within your organisation.  When you are promoting inclusion, silence and invisibility are never ok.” 

Jordy Mifsud  

Gunditjmara (VIC) 

Jordy is Policy Advisor at the Business Council of Australia. She shares how we can Show Up, day to day, to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in both work and culture. 

“We are so fortunate – all of us – that we are home to the oldest living culture in the world. We have the opportunity to embed that culture – embed Indigenous thinking – in everything we do.  

“As we look to revitalise and regenerate our society and economy post lockdowns, there’s an enormous opportunity for Indigenous people to be seen and recognised as partners and stakeholders in the economic and social prosperity of our country. It is the responsibility of all of us, businesses and individuals, to support Indigenous inclusion, and foster real and positive change.  

“That requires genuine and meaningful partnerships, creating job opportunities, investing in young people through education and training, uplifting Indigenous culture, people and communities, and supporting Indigenous enterprise. The Indigenous business sector alone, has grown by a staggering 84% over the past decade and is estimated to have contributed around $5 billion to our economy. What a phenomenal success story – which we don’t hear about nearly enough. Show up and Stand Up for our Indigenous brothers and sisters today, for a better future for all Australians.” 

How can businesses and individuals Show Up, every day, in a sustainable way, to advance Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Inclusion in Australia? 

Fallon Wanganeen 

Fallon is Inclusion Manager at DCA member ANZ, and he featured in our case study about Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander inclusion. He shares his final thought:

“NAIDOC Week is a great way to highlight Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander inclusion, but we need to continue to Show Up for the other 51 weeks of the year too. Showing up can mean many different things to both businesses and individuals – as a business, are you providing cultural capability training to your employees? Are you providing employment opportunities to First Nations people? Do you have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses in your supply chain? And as an individual, are you across Constitutional change at the national level or state-based treaties? There are so many practical ways to Show Up in our everyday lives, we just have to be open to it, and not wait for someone to do it for us.”

Let’s all be advocates!

This article was originally published by Diversity Council Australia.