CareFlight today launched its Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, another step towards strengthening CareFlight’s commitment to the community and supporting our mission to deliver better health outcomes in Australia.

The launch took place in CareFlight’s Darwin hangar and marks the second stage in the aeromedical charity’s reconciliation journey. In 2017, CareFlight launched its Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan, embracing the three core pillars of reconciliation – respect, relationships and opportunities.

As part of its reconciliation journey, CareFlight has developed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Career Development and Employment Strategy to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employee numbers across the organisation and has created a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identified roles across a range of disciplines.

“In many ways this is imperative in our mission to save lives and speed recovery given that some 90 per cent of our retrievals in the Northern Territory are Aboriginal people from remote communities,” CareFlight Community Relations Manager Justine Williams, a descendant of the Larrakia and Iwaidja traditional owner groups, said.

“We work to embed reconciliation and respect for First Nations peoples into every aspect of the organisation,” she said.

Darwin man Jordan Sing, a descendant of the Larrakia and Kiyuk traditional owner groups, has recently begun his apprenticeship as an Avionics Engineer Technician.

“I’ve always had an interest in automotive mechanical work so when I was told about this apprenticeship I thought I’d give it a shot and get some experience working on planes and aircraft,” Jordan explained.

“I’ve learnt so much already and I’ve only been here for a few weeks, it’s really challenging and interesting work and I’m really supported and am enjoying it.”

CareFlight Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group Chair, and NT General Manager, Philip Roberts, said it’s vital the organisation better reflects the community it serves.

“One of our partners in this process gave us a simple measure of success – are more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples employed in your organisation at the end of the RAP?”

“By 2022 we aim to have 18 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander identified roles across a range of disciplines, and we want to continue to increase this number further over time,” he explained.

CareFlight’s Innovate RAP focuses on further developing and strengthening relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, engaging staff and stakeholders in reconciliation, and developing and piloting innovative strategies to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Throughout the next two years we will focus on embedding reconciliation into every aspect of the organisation, and we’ll continue to learn from the oldest living culture in the world,” Justine said.

CareFlight has engaged with an Aboriginal owned and operated business to implement Cross Cultural Awareness Training across the organisation nationally, with 280 employees doing the training so far.

Cross Cultural Consultants Director, Jason Elsegood, said CareFlight has embraced the training with dedication and commitment.

“CareFlight’s reconciliation vision includes a pathway for building cross-cultural awareness within the organisation and embedding respect for First Australians as a core value,” Jason explained.

“CareFlight has been committed during this time to learning how to effectively engage and work with First Nations people in a meaningful and mindful way, particularly involving patients in need of aeromedical retrieval to access medical attention.”

CareFlight’s Reconciliation Action Plan is overseen by a Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group that includes CareFlight staff and local stakeholder representatives.

“As an Aboriginal person, it makes me proud to work for an organisation that is taking steps towards reconciliation and creating an environment that is welcoming and inclusive of all cultures,” CareFlight’s Justine Williams said.

“To me, reconciliation is everyone working together as one.”