ACA launches first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan

The Advertising Council of Australia (ACA) has launched its inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), a first for the Australian advertising industry.

The RAP will provide pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to find employment in the advertising industry, through a pathways programme and partnering with suitable training and educational organisations.

Artwork by Alysha Menzel, 2019 AWARD School SA Top Student

Also included in the plan is education of ACA’s members to equip them with the skills necessary to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through a Cultural Capability program. In addition, the ACA is introducing an accreditation program designed to set minimum standards for the industry and help the council’s members develop their own RAP consistent with government initiatives.

The ACA has been working with Peter Kirk, a Jerrinja man well acquainted with the advertising industry, on the development of the plan after he pointed out the lack of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people employed in advertising.

Kirk’s history with the ACA extends back to 2018 with the launch of the AWARD School Indigenous Scholarship programme, which has since seen six budding creatives graduate between 2018 and 2020, with five more set to graduate from the 2021 session. In January this year, AWARD School launched the ‘Enter Raw, Exit Ready’ enrolment campaign which included the first Indigenous Application Workshop.

After launching the scholarship Kirk then helped the ACA form an industry committee to set the wheels in motion for the development of the RAP, and advised as Indigenous Consultant.

“Storytelling and the arts have forever been an integral part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures – stories passed down to younger generations in the form of paintings, dance and yarning carry history, inspiration and knowledge through the voices of Elders,” Peter said.

“The advertising industry is also built on the craft of storytelling and the arts. It makes perfect sense that, where possible, the industry connects deeper with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This in turn creates a greater sharing of knowledge and practices.”

The ACA RAP Committee will now be working on implementing the plan’s initiatives, led by chair and Host Havas CEO Laura Aldington.

Aldington said: “We are very pleased to be launching Advertising Council Australia’s inaugural Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan today. This launch is significant because we believe it is a missed opportunity that an industry built on the power of creativity has not yet embraced the oldest, most creative, artistic, storytelling culture on this planet. It’s an injustice we’re excited to take steps towards addressing.”

ACA CEO, Tony Hale, added: “Advertising is an inclusive industry that thrives when multiple perspectives are applied to a problem. However it is also, sadly, true that our actions to improve the inequality, living standards, health and society bias against Australia’s First Nations People is severely lacking and lags behind many other industries. Advertising Council Australia’s board and executive team are committed to reconciliation and our Reflect RAP is an opportunity to turn ideas, initiatives and intentions into actions that support reconciliation.”


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