As Woodside recognises National Reconciliation
Week, we spoke with William, a Murujuga Ranger from the Burrup Peninsula, to discuss what
Reconciliation means to him, and what steps we can all take to create real and
honest change, and secure a true, reconciled future for all Australians.
Woodside: What do you believe are the next steps towards reconciliation?
William: I think the next steps for all Australians is to definitely not forget the past, and not dwell on it as well, but learn from it and move forward. Dwelling on the past hasn't got us anywhere so far.
My understanding of reconciliation is we have two groups with a fairly bad history, who need to find a way to move on. I think society needs to recognise local culture, local history - that connection to country - and local cultural knowledge.
Woodside: What can companies like Woodside do to help reconciliation?
William: I think companies like Woodside need to further get behind programs like the Rangers. I think the Ranger programs are a good example of what can be done. Companies need to get in there and do everything they can to further develop programs like this - as I think this is the best way to move forward. They need to do their best to support these programs going into the future. I think this is a very big thing as companies like Woodside have the skills, capabilities and resources to help.
Woodside: What sort of impacts do programs like this have on local communities?
William: I believe Ranger programs are important for young Indigenous men and women to participate in. It has a big impact. For example, it creates employment, it gives them a sense of belonging. It gives them a reason to get out of bed in the morning, it gives them a sense of responsibility, it reconnects them to their country, it gets them off the streets, it gets them off drugs, and the crime rates fall down - a lot. It just works a whole lot of wonders for young Indigenous men and women.
Before I started I was caught up in a lot of bad things, and it has helped me over the past few years better myself as a person and to re-engage and get back in touch with my culture. So, it's helped me a lot. I think I am a perfect example of what the Ranger programs can do for young Indigenous men. I think the Ranger programs just bring out the best in people in general.
Woodside: Why is it so important to you personally?
William: Whether people like to admit it or not, racism is very much alive and a part of every day. Until that goes away, we've got no chance to reconcile anything. I think education has a lot to do with it, people's upbringings, just the way they're taught from a young age on how to treat people, and how to view people. There are school kids these days that have that anger towards young Indigenous kids. I think that's where the problem arises from - just the way they're brought up. In saying that, I think parents are the first step towards getting rid of racism. Once we address that, we can begin to move forward.
We are proud to demonstrate our continued commitment to Indigenous people and communities throughout Australia and take pleasure in releasing our 2016-2020 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). To read Woodside's RAP visit www.woodside.com.au