Specialist trust management firm Equity Trustees has implemented its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in support of the movement for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.
Equity Trustees officially launched its RAP in Perth on 16 April at an event hosted by Angela Ryder, who is an inaugural member of the Noongar Charitable Trust Advisory Council and founding member of the Langford Aboriginal Association.
RAP programs, such as the one implemented by Equity Trustees, are a strategic framework that include practical actions to drive an organisation’s contribution to reconciliation, both internally and in the broader community.
Under Reconciliation Australia’s framework, there are four different types of RAP strategy that cover the steps required at each stage of an organisation’s reconciliation process (reflect, innovate, stretch or elevate).
Because Equity Trustees is at the beginning of the reconciliation process, it has created a ‘reflect’ stage plan in partnership with external Aboriginal consultancy firm that sets out a blueprint for scoping future RAP strategies.
Additionally, Equity Trustees has committed to strengthening its relationship with Indigenous representative groups, building cultural awareness both internally and in the broader community, as well as providing financial and trust services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.
The organisation will review its RAP each year with the aim of progressively increasing its impact on reconciliation and achieving greater wealth equality and social outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
In a statement, Equity Trustees’ chairman Jeff Kennett said his organisation will “continue to evolve” to ensure its services “meet the needs of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients”.
“We support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to manage their wealth through various community and native title trust models, and by directing philanthropic funds towards a wide variety of Aboriginal programs assisting our First Australians,” Kennett said.
“Equity Trustees has a rich history in managing wealth for all Australians, this experience places us in a unique position to use our expertise to improve social and economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities.
“The development of the traditional trustee model to the contemporary Australian context has included adapting our technical trustee service to community trusts.”
Equity Trustees’ managing director Mick O’Brien said employees across the company had embraced the opportunity to be a part of the first RAP’s development and what it could deliver.
“Some of our employees are involved directly in working with managing community trusts or granting, but all employees have seen the opportunity in this initiative to make a difference,” O’Brien said.
“As an active partner to many Aboriginal communities, Equity Trustees has a strong corporate responsibility to actively pursue reconciliation, and this RAP is our first step toward formalising this commitment.”
Equity Trustees has a growing portfolio of community trusts serving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and also makes donations to a range of Indigenous programs through the $70 million in grants it distributes each year.