Reconciliation Action Plans

What is a Reconciliation Action Plan?

Have you heard about a Reconciliation Action Plan or RAP, as they are often talked about? Maybe you know of organisations with a RAP? Did you know that UQ has an Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2019 – 2022?

Reconciliation Australia is the peak body of reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous people in Australia.  The aim of Reconciliation Australia is to “promote and facilitate reconciliation by building relationships, respect and trust between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples” (Reconciliation Australia 2022).

Reconciling relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians involves recognising Australia’s history and its consequences, and considering present and future opportunities to heal those relationships. This is a large undertaking that requires all people in Australia to play their part. To assist organisations to actively support reconciliation, Reconciliation Australia developed and launched the RAP program. The program started in 2006 with eight organisations, and today more than 1100 organisations have a RAP. Organisations with a RAP directly impact over 3 million Australians at work every day (Reconciliation Australia 2022).

A RAP provides organisations with a framework, a set of actions and key deliverables across a braod range of areas, including:

  • observing cultural protocols
  • celebrating and commemorating days of significance
  • increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment
  • increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in decision-making
  • community engagement
  • economic outcomes and
  • providing cultural learning.


People standing together to spell out UQRAP
UQ staff, students and community spell out UQRAP on Forgan Smith Lawn, November 2018. Photograph by Condy Canuto. © University of Queensland

Why does UQ need a RAP?

The University launched its inaugural Innovate RAP 2019 – 2022 in December 2018. Senior leadership committed UQ to developing a RAP in recognition that we need to do more to support reconciliation at UQ. Our RAP provides UQ with a framework to drive and strengthen respectful relationships and action opportunities across UQ’s core business of teaching and learning, research, and enriching our communities.

Watch this video (Vice Chancellor RAP Message (Vimeo, 2m38s), to hear from Professor Deborah Terry AO, UQ’s Vice-Chancellor and President about the importance of a RAP for UQ.

Where is the RAP at and what kind of changes does it drive at UQ?

Front cover of UQ's Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan
Front cover of UQ’s Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2019 – 2022

UQ’s Innovate RAP includes 17 actions for strengthening relationships, respect and opportunities:

What is UQ’s Reconciliation Artwork?

Quandamooka artists Casey Coolwell and Kyra Mancktelow have produced an artwork that recognises the three major campuses, while also championing the creation of a strong sense of belonging and truth-telling about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, and ongoing connections with Country, knowledges, culture and kin. Although created as a single artwork, the piece can be read in three sections, starting with the blue/greys representing the Herston campus, the purple to denote St Lucia, and the orange/golds symbolising Gatton.

The graphic elements overlaying the coloured background symbolise UQ values:

  • The Brisbane River and its patterns represent Excellence. Within the river pattern are tools used by Aboriginal people to teach, gather, hunt, and protect.
  • Creativity and Truth are depicted through the Spirit Guardian, Jarjum (‘child’ in Yugambeh language), and the kangaroo.
  • The jacaranda tree, bora ring, animal prints, footprints and stars collectively represent Integrity, Courage and Respect, and Inclusivity.
Casey Coolwell and Kyra Mancktelow stand in front of their artwork
Quandamooka artists, Casey Coolwell (left) and Kyra Mancktelow (right) with the original acrylic on canvas triptych, A Guidance Through Time, 2019. © The University of Queensland

What can I do?

Watch this Reconciliation Actions (YouTube, 5m33s) video to learn about some of the things you can do to advance reconciliation at UQ.

Reflection activity

After watching the video with helpful actions that you can take, reflect on what you can do and commit to at least one action over the coming year.

You could also consider taking one of the following additional actions:


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

The Language of Relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Copyright © 2023 by Tracey Bunda; Lynnell Angus; Sybilla Wilson; Mia Strasek-Barker; Kealey Griffiths; Lucas Schober; Thomas Scanlan; Keiko Mishiro; Vanessa Eagles; and Laura Deane is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Share This Book