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A&O launches its inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan

Reconciliation Australia welcomes Allen & Overy to the Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) programme with the formal endorsement of its ‘Reflect’ RAP.

'Tjukula', meaning rockholes – artwork by Tjulyata Kulyuru.
Tjulyata has developed her unique interpretation of tjukula waterholes. For the Pitjantjatjara people living in the desert, knowledge of their water sources was critical to their survival. This has resulted in an intimate understanding of the landscape, which continues today.

A&O has launched its ‘Reflect’ RAP to recognise, consolidate and deepen relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. 

RAPs provide organisations with a framework to leverage their structures and diverse spheres of influence to support national reconciliation. A&O joins over 1,100 corporations, governments, and not-for-profits committed to reconciliation.

The launch of A&O’s RAP will help to expand the firm’s pro bono efforts by using its legal skills to work collaboratively with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations, ensuring social justice for their communities on the pathway toward reconciliation.

A&O formed its RAP working group in 2021 to explore existing activities and connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and to build upon these. 

Commenting on the launch of the programme, David Walter, Chair of A&O’s RAP Working Group, said: “We operate on a global scale, but locally in Australia, it is important that we make an impact for enabling diverse people to thrive. In approaching our first Reconciliation Action Plan, we challenge ourselves to contribute significantly towards reconciliation – what we recognise as one of the most significant changes facing Australian society today.”

A&O developed the RAP to take meaningful action to advance reconciliation, based around the pillars of relationships, respect and opportunities. The four action areas A&O has committed to in its RAP are to:

  • Develop and build relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and organisations in the sphere in which we operate.
  • Foster greater respect, cultural awareness and understanding of cultural protocol to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples within A&O and our wider community.
  • Promote opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by investigating employment opportunities, pro bono engagements and supplier diversity with A&O.
  • Ensure our accountability by tracking our progress against our RAP objectives and reporting quarterly to our Australian partnership. 

A&O and the Aboriginal Contemporary Gallery worked to source artwork that celebrates an emerging First Nations artist. The artwork is by Tjulyata Kulyuru, an early-career artist, who comes from a talented and creative family. Her mother was a senior artist at Ernabella from the mission days who excelled in hand-spinning natural wool and creating knitted garments. Her older sister is acclaimed artist Unurupa Nami Kulyuru, and her aunt is Imiyari Adamson. 

Our ‘Reflect’ RAP, featuring the artwork, can be downloaded here.