The RAP, our third since 2015, is guided by our vision for a fair, just and equitable society.
Chief Executive Officer Louise Glanville said that while we’ve implemented initiatives that make a real difference in the lives of First Nations people through our first two RAPs, there’s much more to be done.
‘We have an ongoing responsibility to do better. We’ll continue to prioritise achieving better outcomes for First Nations people in the legal system by following the lead, expertise and solutions of First Nations people themselves,’ she said.
Ms Glanville also stressed the need to continue building the momentum in our reconciliation journey following the Voice to Parliament referendum outcome.
‘I respect that many First Nations people are reflecting on the referendum and processing how it has unfolded,’ she said.
‘This is a time for us all to stop, reflect and build understanding of what First Nations people are experiencing and the historic and ongoing disadvantage they face.
‘But now is as important a time as ever to continue our vital reconciliation work.’
Our new Director, First Nations Services Ashley Morris, a Gunditjmara man who commenced in the role this month, will provide strong leadership and support as we implement this RAP.
‘I’m excited to be taking on this role at a time when Victoria Legal Aid is introducing its third RAP,’ he said.
‘I look forward to working with our colleagues and partners to continue to support First Nations-led solutions to strengthen legal assistance services for First Nations people in Victoria.’
About the RAP
Through the RAP, we’ve committed to building stronger relationships with First Nations stakeholders. By respecting their expertise and working together in good faith, we hope to contribute towards self-determination.
We’ll be looking to better understand self-determination and what it means for our everyday practice. This will be led by First Nations staff, stakeholders and community members.
We also commit to improving the accessibility, cultural safety and responsiveness of legal aid services for First Nations people. This includes by expanding our Aboriginal Community Engagement Officer Program, piloting a specialist First Nations legal helpline and building cultural capability in our organisation and across the sector.
The voices of First Nations people will be at the heart of our service design and performance, as we strive to embed their lived experience and expertise in our work.
Recognising that increasing First Nations employment opportunities contributes to self-determination, we commit to growing the proportion of First Nations staff to five per cent.
Our First Nations employment target will be backed by initiatives to improve recruitment processes and foster an inclusive and supportive work environment.
The work of reconciliation too often falls on First Nations people. But we believe it’s everyone’s responsibility and are committed to making it our everyday business at Victoria Legal Aid.
This will be our last plan following the RAP format as future plans will adopt an approach based on self-determination.
We thank everyone who contributed to its development, including our RAP Working Group, First Nations Services team, First Nations Staff Network, Karen Milward Consulting Services and our sector partners.
Reviewed 24 October 2023