ACON launches First Nations truth telling project


Love hearts with different flags representing different communities
ACON is committed to reconciliation and health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Photo: Ann-Marie Calilhanna.

NSW leading health LGBTQIA+ organisation ACON has launched a First Nations Listening and Truth Telling Project to improve its ongoing commitment to reconciliation and the promotion of health equity for LGBTQ+SB* Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Launched last week as part of National Reconciliation Week 2024, ACON is reflecting on its history as well as its role in the reconciliation process and the actions needed to increase our efforts to further this objective.

Despite the disappointing outcome of the recent referendum on an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament, ACON is dedicated to the principles of self-determination and advocacy for First Nations peoples.

“As an organisation, we are dedicated to creating opportunities for all people in our communities to live their healthiest lives, which includes LGBTQ+SB Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill AM said.

“We stand firmly by the ideals of self-determination for First Nations people, ensuring our programs and interventions are guided by those they are intended to serve.”

“To amplify First Nation voices within our organisation, and to improve our capacity to address the unique challenges these communities face, ACON is launching a Listening and Truth Telling process. This initiative aims to create a culture of meaningful listening within the organisation, to ensure that the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are amplified, and their needs are more effectively prioritised.”

The objectives of the Project are to strengthen dialogue, inform program development, guide strategic health outcomes, and identify how ACON’s role in addressing issues affecting First Nations LGBTQ+SB people can be improved.

The project will also bolster ACON’s advocacy efforts for additional funding and support for health programs tailored to these communities.

“Through our Listening and Truth Telling Project, we commit to engaging directly with LGBTQ+SB Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across NSW,” Parkhill added.

“These interactions will inform strategic discussions within our organisation, ultimately guiding our future directions and improving our work with these communities.”

ACON’s efforts align with the strategies outlined in its second Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan, which emphasises celebrating First Nations culture, resilience, and joy, and increasing organisational understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and rights through cultural learning.

“The First Nations Listening and Truth Telling Project is a crucial step in ensuring that the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are heard and prioritised in our work,” Parkhill said.

“We are profoundly grateful to our First Nations staff, volunteers, clients, partners, and Board Members for their expertise and guidance. Their contributions are invaluable as we move towards truth-telling and accountability as an organisation.

“ACON is steadfast in its commitment to reconciliation, equity, and justice, continually striving to build an open and transparent dialogue with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. By working in partnership, we aim to better serve and support the health and wellbeing of First Nations LGBTQ+SB people in NSW.”

ACON’s First Nations Listening and Truth Telling Project will help it improve its ongoing role working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of diverse sexualities and genders to achieve better health outcomes.

Experienced consultants interested in working with ACON to drive this project forward are invited to submit an expression of interest in the project.

For more information on the Project and to submit an Expression of Interest, visit the First Nations Listening and Truth Telling Project description here.

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Andrew M Potts

Andrew has been covering LGBTQIA+ issues for a range of publications in Australia over two decades and was the Asia-Pacific correspondent for global LGBTQIA+ news website Gay Star News.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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