Zandalee Anderson performing a traditional dance at the Rockhampton RAP celebrations

Cultural Ceremony Launches EPIC Reconciliation Action Plan

EPIC Employment’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) was launched on Friday the 27th of June at the EPIC Rockhampton office.

It was an immersive and enlightening day for EPIC staff, Rockhampton and Woorabinda elders, residents and business people, with a full program of traditional performances, ceremonies and cultural activities to celebrate the significance of the RAP in this region. The RAP is a key strategy for EPIC’s commitment to the reconciliation journey in Australia and working towards building stronger relationships, respect and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

EPIC Employment CEO, Bill Gamack, says the RAP is a positive step toward a just and equitable Australia.

“I look forward to making our Plan a reality through respect, acknowledgement of histories, cultures, education and increased understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” he said.

The program began with a Welcome to Country speech by Wade Mann, the Darumbal Elder, welcoming all in attendance to the land.

Bill Gamack followed with his own address of the day, outlining the significance of the RAP and EPIC’s commitment to the Woorabinda and Rockhampton communities.

A traditional smoking ceremony of the EPIC office was then conducted by Wade, conducted by burning native plants in a spiritual act designed to ward off bad spirits.

The Rockhampton and Woorabinda communities showed off their performing prowess, with Wade’s son Dylan who performed on his didgeridoo alongside brothers Wade and Dylan who danced.

Carol Major introduced 25 youths from the One Mob Fellowship Ministries, who performed traditional songs and dances and a ghetto gospel routine. Greg Saunders also sung and played guitar throughout the day.

Zandalee Anderson then performed a traditional dance, with her mother Katrina Anderson introducing her and explaining the symbolic meaning behind Zandalee’s performance. Zandalee is an accomplished dancer and active member of her community, as she was crowned Rockhampton Miss NAIDOC in 2011 and was a featured performer on the National Indigenous Television (NITV) program ‘Move It Mob Style’.

Milton Lawton from Woorabinda works for Queensland Health Alcohol and Other Drugs Service and Community Mental Health Service joined the program as a story teller and informed the audience with his bush tucker expertise. Milton then presented Bill with a sandstone painting he created for EPIC, displaying the EPIC logo with traditional Aboriginal motifs.

The day was finished with Saima Torres Strait Islander Corporation providing a traditional Kup Murri-style lunch, where the food is wrapped in paperbark and cooked in a specially constructed ground oven.

Art was also on display which was created by local artists from Rockhampton and Woorabinda. The RAP launch day was a fantastic success, was greatly enjoyed by everyone involved, and helped to reinforce the strong relationship between EPIC and the Aboriginal communities in Rockhampton and Woorabinda.