Need to get Reconciliation Action Plan into the NSW State Plan

Some time back i asked NSW Premier Keneally about the absence of a commitment to the reconciliation process in the NSW State Plan. She flicked it on to someone else and i now have a reply (and have replied to that).

I reckon we need more discussion about these matters in the coming NSW State election.

—–Original Message—–
From: Sophie
Sent: Wednesday, 29 September 2010 2:10 PM
Subject: Correspondence from Chief Executive Aboriginal Affairs NSW

Dear Mr Reyburn, please find attached correspondence from James Christian, Chief Executive Aboriginal Affairs NSW.

Sophie Burkett
A/Policy Officer
Strategic Policy and Coordination
Aboriginal Affairs NSW


10LL1946 reyburn re reconciliation

My reply:

—–Original Message—–
From: Bruce Reyburn
Sent: Thursday, 30 September 2010 9:49 AM
To: ‘Sophie Burkett’
Subject: RE: Correspondence from Chief Executive Aboriginal Affairs NSW

Thanks Sophie

James makes the common mistake of conflating the reconciliation process with the government’s obligation to ensure the full well-being of this State’s First Peoples.

Reconciliation (while mindful of that key objective) is about improving the quality of the relationship between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

On the figures provided by James, i make that a financial commitment of the NSW Government to reconciliation process of 3 cents a year per person. (ABS NSW pop 7,221,000 at end of March quarter).

3 cents per person per year! Not even a postage stamp per household, let alone a newsletter.

Is this not shameful? What price a Premier’s tears?

I think a dollar per person per year for the reconciliation process would enable much more good work to be done by those who freely commit their time, energy and expertise to their Local Reconciliation Group.

While the NSW is to congratulated for providing a degree of constitutional recognition for the original peoples of this land, it did not recognise them as First Peoples (an important difference under international law).

Unfortunately, even the limited step of recognising First People was a Clayton’s form of recognition in light of Clause 3:

(3) Nothing in this section creates any legal right or liability, or gives rise to or affects any civil cause of action or right to review an administrative action, or affects the interpretation of any Act or law in force in New South Wales.

This renders First Peoples unreal, once again.

So i can draw no real comfort from James’ reply. There is a very long way to go.

What the NSW State Plan requires (with bi-partisan support) is a properly formulated Reconciliation Action Plan as outlined by Reconciliation Australia at its website (see ).

For the life of me i cannot understand why there is any problem in taking the next step to get a fair dinkum reconciliation process into the State Plan for the next – and healing – phase of the 21st century.

Merely some mental blockages to be dissolved?


Bruce Reyburn
Coledale NSW