DHSV celebrates launch of Reconciliation Action Plan

DHSV reconciliation action plan
(L-R): DHSV CEO, Dr Deborah Cole; the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) Strategic Programs director, Dr Chris Bourke; DHSV’s Aboriginal liaison officer, Carleen Miller, unveiling the possum skin cloak.

Dental Health Services Victoria celebrated the launch of their Reconciliation Action Plan at their most recent annual general meeting. 

“The RAP builds on the impressive work we have already done to improve the oral health of Aboriginal Victorians by increasing the number of Aboriginal people accessing public dental care,” DHSV CEO Dr Deborah Cole said. 

“Our Aboriginal traineeships have created job opportunities for Indigenous Victorians and helped us create a more culturally affirming environment for communities that have been marginalised, misunderstood and discriminated against for way too long.”

The Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group was established in October 2018 and is the governing body of the RAP. The RAP was endorsed by Reconciliation Australia. 

The RAP was launched at the AGM alongside a traditional smoking ceremony led by Aunty Joy Murphy, a senior Wurundjeri elder of the Kulin Nation, and the unveiling of a traditional possum skin cloak. 

The possum cloak was woven together by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal staff and clients during a series of National Reconciliation Week Baagon Walert Walert workshops, which mean ‘coming together with the possum cloak’ in the Taungurung language. 

The idea of making DHSV’s very own possum skin cloak came from DHSV Aboriginal liaison officer, Carleen Miller, who felt it was important to start conversations around awareness and understanding of reconciliation.

“Integrating cultural practices into workplaces signifies a slow but significant shift towards reconciliation,” Miller said.

The RAP features artwork created by Sarah Fuss. Fuss is a Kambuwal/Gamilaroi woman who is currently undertaking the Human Resources Indigenous Traineeship at DHSV, where she is studying Certificate III in Business.

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