To recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners of land and to commemorate Reconciliation Week 2022, we got in touch with the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people to perform a Welcome to Country ceremony at our Melbourne head office.
The Wurundjeri Country extends from the inner city of Melbourne, across the mountains of the Great Dividing Range, west of Werribee river, south to the Mordialloc creek and east of Mount Baw Baw. Uncle Colin, one of the Elders from the Wurundjeri, conducted the smoking ceremony, which is performed to cleanse places and people of bad spirits and promote the wellbeing of people and guests on Country. He spoke to us about his ancestors and the experiences they went through.
In Aboriginal culture, a great deal of respect is given to the land, plants and animals. Uncle Colin advised us to take the gum leaves inside our office and encouraged each of us to take a leaf from the branch and put it in our pockets for the evening. This gesture will keep the individual safe while in Country.
To read more about the Wurundjeri community, please visit their website: https://www.wurundjeri.com.au/
“Aboriginals need to have a voice. They need to feel proud of being aboriginals, and we have a responsibility to get their voice returned to them. The Welcome to Country ceremony on Friday was a small part we played in helping them do that, and we have a long way to go.“Joe Hernandez
The Indigenous Community as a Stakeholder
It’s no secret that historically and in present times the indigenous communities of Australia have experienced horrendous injustices, and the way forward at times has been complex. For Joe Hernandez, our CEO, arriving in Australia as an immigrant child in the early 1970s, the contrast between the treatment he experienced compared to the Aboriginal community sowed the seeds for a deep respect and care for the Indigenous people of his adopted nation.
Throughout the years the disconnect and mistreatment he observed firsthand and on a wider scale only fuelled a desire to see a change in attitude and posture in this nation towards its Indigenous people.
One of Joe’s strongest personal values is to treat everyone with respect regardless of their race, background, upbringing or social status – and the celebration of multiculturalism within our company attests to this.
In 2021, when Joe led the leadership group at Precision to develop a deeper understanding of our company Stakeholders, this included developing an awareness of our impact as a business on our wider community. At this point Joe saw an opportunity to add a specific category for our Indigenous community as a stakeholder, and in doing so we acknowledge the complex truth that as a business we operate and flourish on land that belonged with them, and subsequently we desire for our success to be their success too.
The leadership team has been conducting research into how our company can have a positive impact on our local Indigenous communities. Inviting the Wurundjeri people to hold a Welcome to Country ceremony on Friday was a small part of standing alongside them to reclaim their voice and their rightful place in our country.
What else are we doing
Here are some of the initiatives we are currently undertaking at Precision to work towards our responsibility to the Indigenous community as a Stakeholder of our business:
- Every member of the Leadership team at Precision will attend a professional development session on cultural awareness
- We are currently developing an Aboriginal Employment & Training Initiative within the company
- We regularly support and donate to the local Wurundjeri community
- To acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and pay our respects to Elders past and present we have setup a plaque in our office to recognise this.
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