Response re Woolworths Group Reconciliation Action Plan

Response to concerned organisations and individuals regarding the Woolworths Group Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and actions to build a Dan Murphy’s store in Darwin

Reconciliation Australia has responded to the letter from Mr Paterson on behalf of the group of concerned organisations and individuals.

Reconciliation Australia takes the integrity of our programs very seriously. At the heart of reconciliation are respectful relationships built on trust.

We expect organisations with RAPs to deliver on their commitments and live up to the intent of their plan. When there are concerns a RAP partner is not meeting these expectations, we undertake an investigative process that includes engagement directly with the RAP partner and any impacted stakeholders.

Since we became aware of the issues surrounding the proposed Dan Murphy’s store in Darwin and opposition by community leaders and organisations, we reached out to the Woolworths Group and community groups to understand both positions.

In discussions with the Woolworths Group, including with CEO Mr Brad Banducci, we have expressed our concerns.

With the announcement in December 2020 of an Independent Panel Review led by Mr Danny Gilbert AM, Woolworths and Mr Banducci said no final decision on the building of the retail store had been made, and would not until the completion of the Review.

We await the report of the Independent Review Panel at the end of March 2021 and Woolworths Group’s response before taking further action.

The Executive and Board of Reconciliation Australia make the final decision to remove an organisation from the RAP program, and it is not made lightly.

We will continue to engage transparently with all parties before making a final decision.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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