I am writing this message, sitting on Wurundjeri land, on the day after Sorry Day when we acknowledge harms caused by colonisation and the ongoing systemic racism affecting Australia’s First Nations people, as well as their resilience and strength. National Reconciliation Week starts today (27 May) under the theme More than a word. Reconciliation takes action.
Last week, I was fortunate to be part of the audience at the FCA Conference in Darwin, on Larrakia land, that heard a moving and stirring speech from Thomas Mayor, author of Finding the Heart of the Nation, about the Uluru Statement from the Heart (please visit this weblink to express your support for the Uluru Statement).
The financial counselling sector in Victoria has a lot of work to do to build stronger links with First Nations communities and organisations. This is not to gainsay the great work that many financial counsellors do with Indigenous communities, including especially the role played by the FC team at Victorian Aboriginal Health Service (VAHS). But it is striking that VAHS is the only Aboriginal controlled organisation I am aware of directly employing financial counsellors in Victoria.
Listening to a range of Indigenous organisations, it is apparent we have a lot to do to build culturally safe and relevant communications and service around financial capability and financial counselling. We need to identify ways to support first nations people to enter the financial counselling profession in Victoria as part of this, and we need to be open to learning from First Nations people about how the profession needs to evolve to serve and empower Indigenous communities.