Exploring the future of a just equitable and reconciled Australia

More than two decades after the last reconciliation convention in Australia, 1500 participants came together virtually late last year for the 2021 Australian Reconciliation Convention.


With close to 100 speakers in 30 sessions over three days, the Convention reflected on the past and explored the future of a just, equitable and reconciled Australia.

In Australia and across the globe, experience and research shows that Indigenous peoples’ ability to self-determine through exercising voice and choice is the only long-term sustainable solution to addressing issues of inequality.

In a panel on Transformative Partnerships featuring Jason Mifsud, Wesfarmers and Amara Barnes, SBS and chaired by Victoria Thom, BHP Foundation, they discussed how mainstream organizations can partner well with Indigenous-led organizations, including engaging Indigenous peoples as rights-holders not stakeholders, encouraging participants to focus on what is strong, not what is wrong, and ensuring Indigenous voice and decision-making power is genuine and at the most senior levels to center Aboriginal knowledge and cultures.

The key message for organizations was to be mindful of power dynamics, to co-design principles together with Indigenous partners, by working out ‘how’ they’ll work together, before focusing on ‘what’ they’ll do together.

BHP Foundation supports Indigenous peoples and organizations in their drive towards self-determination and works with a number of First Nations organizations and communities across North and South America, as well as in Australia where one partner is Reconciliation Australia.  

With the Foundation also focused on giving young people every chance to develop and fulfil their potential and be empowered to confidently contribute to their communities and society more broadly - the Foundation supports Reconciliation Australia’s Narragunnawali Program which is engaging Australia’s future leaders in learning and action around reconciliation.

The Narragunnawali Program supports a high level of knowledge and pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions within education settings. The Narragunnawali Awards 2021 featured as part of the Australian Reconciliation Convention program celebrated Australian schools and early learning services that are implementing outstanding reconciliation initiatives.

The 2021 Award winners were St Virgil’s College in Tasmania, Tumut Community Preschool in NSW and Balnarring Pre-School in Victoria.