The 3rd of June 2022 marks 30 years to the day, (3 June 1992) that the Australian High Court delivered the Mabo decision. This decision challenged the legal fiction of ‘terra nullius’ (land belonging to no one) and recognised Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Australia and the Torres Strait Islands.
The day also marks the start of Reconciliation Week, an important opportunity to reflect on our shared history, cultures, and achievements, as well as explore how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia. The theme of Reconciliation Week 2022 is “Be Brave. Make Change”.
That is our commitment at Sims Metal. With more than 100 years of history in Australia, we recognise the role we must play in both telling the truth about the past and building a future of shared and sustainable prosperity.
Last year, we formalised our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which sets out the first steps on this journey. The RAP is a formal document endorsed by Reconciliation Australia that forms an important part of our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion across our global operations. The RAP is based around the three pillars of Reconciliation: Respect, Relationships and Opportunities.
Respect is shown by taking the time to listen and learn. In 2021, we rolled out cultural competency training, and we have now reached 80% of our site-based, frontline leaders and commercial teams. We will build on this work in our next RAP to reach all Australia-based employees. We are building Relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses, communities and organisations for mutual benefit – for instance, prior to COVID we hosted a delegation from the local Aboriginal Health Service at our facility in Kwinana, Western Australia, where they could see first-hand what happened to car bodies that Sims Metal helped remove from communities in the Kimberley and Pilbara.
Business partnership is critical as this help builds Opportunities, both within Sims and within our Supply Chain. We’ve worked with one of our suppliers, Yurra, to embed their team members into our rail recovery teams in WA, which will grow the capabilities of both organisations. Last year we spent more than $1M AUD with Indigenous-owned businesses, and we recently joined Supply Nation, the peak body for Indigenous owned business, to help us grow our impact in this vibrant and dynamic business sector.
This year, Sims Metal will mark Reconciliation Week with events across Australia that include morning teas and community events, as well as a ceremonial flag raising and a smoking ceremony at our Kwinana, WA, location. Sims Metal will continue to explore new ways to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities, and businesses as we work toward reconciliation.
Learn more about diversity, equity, and inclusion at Sims.