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MFB launches reconciliation action plan

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20 Nov 2008
The MFB have officially launched a reconciliation action plan that will enhance relationships between firefighters and local Aboriginal communities.

The reconciliation action plan, officially launched at the MFB’s Burnley complex by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner Tom Calma, provides a set of guidelines that will assist the MFB in contributing to the national goal of reconciliation.

The MFB is the first fire service in Australia to implement a reconciliation action plan.

The launch event also saw the unveiling of an aboriginal bidja stone art sculpture erected at the Burnley complex. The motifs on the stone represent a bidja corroboree and an Aboriginal story about the creation of fire as told in the Murray River region.

Manager of diversity development Dalal Smiley said that the plan is in line with federal and state government policies on reconciliation.

“It streamlines the MFB’s efforts in working with indigenous communities by drawing on a whole of organisation approach.

The plan commits the MFB to provide positive initiatives to increase the employment opportunities for Aboriginal people within the organisation, as well as to contribute to the national reconciliation goal of reducing the life expectancy gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities,” she said.

Ms Smiley said that the MFB is committed to developing sustainable relationships with the diverse communities that it serves.

“The plan will improve relationships and communication with indigenous communities and will provide a pre-employment program for Aboriginal people.

“The MFB already places great emphasis on building strong relationships with the Aboriginal community. We have employed an aboriginal liaison officer to assist in communicating and helping our staff understand indigenous issues,” she said.

For further information, please contact the Media and Communications Department on (03) 9665 4394 or media@mfb.vic.gov.au

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