Royal Life Saving WA releases Reconciliation Action Plan

[by Samantha Vigus]

Dennis Simmons from Maar Koodjal, RLSSWA’s Travis Doye, Linda Doogiebee-Dridi from Pilbara Aboriginal Voice, RLSSWA’s Tim Turner, Gningala Yarran-Mark from UGL Pty Ltd, Artist Jilalga Murray and RLSSWA CEO Peter Leaversuch. Image: supplied

For many years Royal Life Saving WA has built strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across regional WA and the Perth metropolitan area.


In fact, a significant proportion of our work is geared towards engaging Indigenous Australians in water safety.


This could be a young person enjoying a swim at the new Balgo swimming pool, it could be a mother and child participating in swimming lessons at Burringurrah, or a young adult commencing their first job as a Pool Lifeguard in South Hedland.


Royal Life Saving WA is committed to driving reconciliation both within the organisation and throughout the broader aquatic recreation industry.


As a reflection of this the REFLECT Reconciliation Action Plan has just been released and will serve as an exciting new chapter for an organisation that has operated across Western Australia since 1909.


The Plan has been prepared by a working group, consisting of seven members, in consultation with the federal body, Reconciliation Australia.


It highlights the organisation’s desire to provide Indigenous people with genuine opportunities to engage in water safety education and obtain aquatic qualifications that lead to employment within WA’s aquatic industry.


It also aims to grow an organization-wide culture of respect, recognition and acceptance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, their history and culture.


The Royal Life Saving WA RAP has been developed to drive:


  • Internal reflection, both organizational & individual

  • Challenge of current practices, procedures and policies

  • Improved relationships, respect and understanding, and;

  • Natural engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.


Royal Life Saving WA CEO Peter Leaversuch says, as the organisation is proud of the many achievements it’s been involved in that have helped to make swimming and water safety education accessible to even the remotest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Western Australia.


“However, our key priority in the development and achievement of this RAP focused on more than just increasing participation numbers. Rather, we hope to see a significant shift in the way our people, our industry and our communities accept and engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.”


Royal Life Saving WA looks forward to continuing to build its strong relationships within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and sees this RAP as a vehicle to improve the intent behind the organisation’s services and associated impact achieved through its organisational activities, which are to:


  • Support the development of broader and stronger networks between Royal Life Saving WA and Aboriginal communities, agencies and individuals.

  • Guide organisational messaging that promotes Royal Life Saving WA’s activities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

  • Guide organisational strategy associated with service delivery with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

  • Suggest innovations and initiatives that help to build Royal Life Saving WA’s program and service range with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

  • Help Royal Life Saving WA to position the aquatics industry as a major employer of Aboriginal youth.


Royal Life Saving WA’s RAP has been endorsed by Ian Trust, Chairman of Wunan.


“Royal Life Saving WA has demonstrated its ongoing commitment to work alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to build safer, healthier more resilient communities. This is particularly evident in their work in positioning the local swimming pool, no matter where it is within the State, as a safe place for the local community to build resilience, improve health and provide valuable recreational experiences. Furthermore, Royal Life Saving WA is well positioned to champion stronger relationships, respect and trust between the broader aquatic recreation community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”


The artwork within Royal Life Saving WA’s RAP was created by Jilalga Murray of JILALGA DESIGNS. She is a proud urban Nyangumarta and Yorta Yorta woman who’s lived on Whadjuk Boodjar for over ten years. Her artwork strongly reflects our relationship with Western Australian waterways, and she describes it as “a creative celebration, to remind everyone that their work around water safety is very important to the lives of all West Australians and visitors to our wonderful state. My artwork sends a message, that we must all be respectful of where we live, work and play.”


Royal Life Saving WA looks forward to continuing to grow strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across WA, as we work together to become a more inclusive and culturally aware organisation.


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