Western NSW Local Health District (LHD) acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the Countries throughout Western NSW, and their enduring and strong connection to the land, waters and community.
We pay our respects to Traditional Owners, Elders both past and present and acknowledge the privilege we have, to live and work on Aboriginal lands.
We share and celebrate the rich history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and recognise the diverse and proud Aboriginal nations across the footprint of our District.
We are committed to improving the health outcomes and experiences of care for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who interact with our services and facilities. We acknowledge the role that health services have played in the past in disempowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures, and the harm that continues to be felt by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today.
We also recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have demonstrated strength, courage and resilience in response to our past actions spanned over multiple generations. We acknowledge our responsibility to address and overcome this harm.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) June 2023 – June 2025 highlights our commitment to righting past wrongs and continuing our journey to deliver services that are co designed, culturally safe and aimed at improving health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Western NSW for generations to come.
Artwork by Jasmine Sarin.
About the artist
Jasmine Sarin is a proud Kamilaroi and Jerrinja woman from NSW. Jasmine grew up predominantly on the South Coast in Nowra (Jerinja and Yuin country) and Wollongong (Dharawal country) but has country influences from Coonabarabran in Central West NSW (Kamilaroi country). Jasmine is a self-taught visual artist and graphic designer whose artwork tells the story of her experiences growing up and her ongoing journey in this world. This allows Jasmine to bring contemporary methods and concepts to the oldest culture on earth. "I pay my respects to my elders both past and present and acknowledge that the land on which I work and play on was, is and always will be Aboriginal Land." Jasmine Sarin
About the artwork
Family and community are intrinsic to our culture. It is a support network that enables our ongoing survival through which we maintain knowledge and traditions. The health of our community is determined by the strength of our networks and how we connect with others. The artwork depicts our community (the centre) with tracks leading to other connections of bush food, healing circles, meeting places and other services we access to maintain our culture. These elements ensure we have a strong, healthy and resilient community with strong connections.
Note - Throughout these web pages we have used graphical elements to highlight our content, adapted from this original artwork with the permission of the artist.
Our vision for reconciliation is for all of us.
We believe that non-Indigenous staff will lead the way in building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, partner organisations, patients, families and carers to work collaboratively together to improve health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We accept and acknowledge past actions, the harm caused to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and the impact that this harm continues to have on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities today.
Our vision will become a reality by valuing the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their cultures. We will undertake true co-design of services in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients, family and carers experiences are at the centre of every service we deliver.
Western NSW is diverse in geography, communities and culture. Our communities are unique in many ways, and each has a strong sense of local identity and resilience. This diversity is also reflected in the nine proud Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander nations and many language groups within the footprint of the Western NSW LHD.
On measures of health and wellbeing, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples fare significantly worse than non-Indigenous people. This difference has been made starkly obvious as the COVID- 19 pandemic amplified the impact of social disadvantage on the health of individuals and communities. Our District demonstrated strong innovation and decisive local leadership in responding to COVID-19, rapidly implementing a range of measures including provision of food, cultural and wellbeing supports to vulnerable people, both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non–Indigenous, recognising that across western NSW, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have been disproportionately impacted by the virus.
This Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan 2023-2025 is the second RAP that our District has developed. This RAP is an opportunity to reflect on our approach to improving the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, the reconciliation and health equity journeys we are on, and the next steps we will take together to make substantial improvement in health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
This RAP 2023-2025 builds on our actions and achievements to date, and recognises that we have embarked on a long term cultural improvement journey across our whole organisation. We maintain our focus on ongoing meaningful change, through accepting and acknowledging the historical role that health services have had in disempowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, understanding the impact that historical harm continues to have on the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people today, and doing all we can to uncover, challenge and address racism in health care, in all its forms, including casual racism and cognitive bias.
Mark Spittal - Chief Executive Western NSW Local Health District
Matthew Irvine - Chair Western NSW Local Health District Board
Reconciliation Australia commends Western NSW Local Health District on the formal endorsement of its second Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Since 2006, RAPs have provided a framework for organisations to leverage their structures and diverse spheres of influence to support the national reconciliation movement.
With close to 3 million people now either working or studying in an organisation with a RAP, the program’s potential for impact is greater than ever. Western NSW LHD continues to be part of a strong network of more than 2,200 corporate, government, and not-for-profit organisations that have taken goodwill and transformed it into action.
The four RAP types — Reflect, Innovate, Stretch and Elevate — allow RAP partners to continuously strengthen reconciliation commitments and constantly strive to apply learnings in new ways.
An Innovate RAP is a crucial and rewarding period in an organisation’s reconciliation journey. It is a time to build the strong foundations and relationships that ensure sustainable, thoughtful, and impactful RAP outcomes into the future.
An integral part of building these foundations is reflecting on and cataloguing the successes and challenges of previous RAPs. Learnings gained through effort and innovation are invaluable resources that Western NSW LHD will continuously draw upon to create RAP commitments rooted in experience and maturity.
These learnings extend to your organisation using the lens of reconciliation to better understand its core business, sphere of influence, and diverse community of staff and stakeholders.
The RAP program’s emphasis on relationships, respect, and opportunities gives organisations a framework from which to foster connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples rooted in mutual collaboration and trust.
This Innovate RAP is an opportunity for Western NSW LHD to strengthen these relationships, gain crucial experience, and nurture connections that will become the lifeblood of its future RAP commitments. By enabling and empowering staff to contribute to this process, your organisation will ensure shared and cooperative success in the long-term.
Gaining experience and reflecting on pertinent learnings will ensure the sustainability of Western NSW LHD’s future RAPs and reconciliation initiatives, providing meaningful impact toward Australia’s reconciliation journey.
Congratulations Western NSW LHD on your second Innovate RAP and I look forward to following your ongoing reconciliation journey.
Karen Mundine - Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia
Position: Chair WNSWLHD RAP Governance Committee