Tasmania’s largest plantation forest manager, Forico, last month reaffirmed its commitment to fostering respect and transparent engagement with Tasmania’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with the launch of its 2021-2022 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Developed in consultation with Reconciliation Tasmania, Forico’s Reflect RAP seeks to build, encourage and foster strong positive relationships and trust between Forico and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities throughout Tasmania.
Forico’s Chief Executive, Bryan Hayes said by committing to a RAP, Forico seeks to change its intentions into actions.
“Our reconciliation vision is a future where cultural traditions and land management practices of Tasmania’s First Peoples are integrated into the ongoing custodianship of our natural resources,” Mr Hayes said.
“Forico is committed to proactively engaging with interested and affected stakeholders within Tasmania through open, transparent, and respectful communication.”
Forico’s Sustainability Manager, Simon Cook, who led the RAP process said the organisation had identified several important cultural locations within the Forico-managed forests and is looking to engage with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to assist in their long-term management.
“At these sites we wish to engage proactively with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to advance mutually beneficial and meaningful opportunities,” Mr Cook said.
“By developing our Reflect RAP, we genuinely believe we can develop and deliver opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through working collaboratively to create lasting community benefit.
“We also hope to create greater awareness within our staff of the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, to improve understanding and strengthen relationships with stakeholders.
To celebrate the launch of the RAP, Forico has commissioned a local artist to produce a unique piece of artwork that symbolises the organisation’s connection with the land.
Painted by local Launceston artist, Judith-Rose Thomas, the artwork’s title “pure.ne.ac”, or “Burn”, is derived from the Aboriginal language spoken in northern Tasmania.
“This artwork will sit proudly in the entrance to our head office and serve as a constant reminder of our commitment to furthering our reconciliation vision and building stronger relationships with Tasmania’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island communities,” Mr Hayes said.
Reconciliation Tasmania Chief Executive, Mark Redmond, said Forico’s Reflect RAP was a great step forward for reconciliation.
“Reconciliation Tasmania and Forico staff have worked together to build actions into their RAP which signify a sincere and genuine commitment to acknowledging the importance of having an Aboriginal community voice in the management of their forestry resources.