1. Respectful Relationships
Building respectful relationship with key Indigenous groups; Developing partnerships for research, programs and employment; Connecting with local Indigenous communities; Learning and observing cultural protocols
Key achievements in the Respectful Relationships area include the recent creation of an APS Indigenous Psychology Advisory Group, which will advise the APS Board on all Indigenous-related matters. The Advisory Group succeeds the RAP Working Group, which guided the development and implementation of the APS RAP.
APS Member Group engagement towards respectful relationships has been assisted through the development of two important resources that are being used extensively to guide activities throughout APS Member Groups:
- APS Cultural Protocols for Recognising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Country, Traditional Owners and Elders
- Doing Reconciliation Locally – RAP Implementation Tips for Member Groups
Partnership with the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association and Indigenous representation within the APS
Key achievements in this area include incorporating the RAP into the internal governance of the APS through involvement of the APS Board and National Office Executive Managers in the implementation of the lead action areas of the RAP.
The APS and the Australian Indigenous Psychologists Association (AIPA) are working to formalise an MoU outlining parameters for their future relationship. In the meantime, the APS and AIPA have continued to collaborate, for example, with AIPA being part of the RAP Working Group, and represented on the APS Regional, Rural and Remote Advisory Group.
AIPA members have provided advice and consultation to APS initiatives, such as the Annual Conference, and to funded projects such as KidsMatter. The APS continues to support AIPA’s delivery of funded projects and Steering Committee operations. The two organisations have also worked together on several reviews and external submissions.
3. Cultural Competence
Indigenous knowledge and the psychology curriculum; Professional development on cultural competence/safety; Research partnerships with Indigenous peoples; Indigenous resources and information; Assessment tools for Indigenous people; Ethical guidelines
This area of the RAP has seen a substantial achievement in psychology education and training, where the APS is the major industry partner in the Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP). This collaborative project, funded by the Office of Learning and Teaching (OLT) until 2016, is investigating curricular approaches to increasing cultural competence and Indigenous participation in psychology education and training across Australian higher education institutions. The project is being led by Pat Dudgeon (see Australian Indigenous Psychology Education Project (AIPEP) for more information).
About 600 psychologists have undertaken AIPA’s highly successful Cultural Competence Training for the mental health workforce, auspiced by the APS and rolled out throughout the country for Access To Allied Psychological Services (ATAPS) providers.
Significant steps have also been taken towards ensuring the APS staff and Member Group leaders undergo cultural awareness/cultural safety training.
4. Indigenous Education and Employment
Indigenous student recruitment to psychology courses and affirmative action with mentoring and support; Strategies for Indigenous psychology graduate employment and Indigenous employment within the APS
The AIPEP is also the primary mechanism for most of the targeted actions in the fourth priority area of Indigenous Education and Employment. Key achievements here include a significant increase (more than 100%) in the number of psychologists reported as identifying as Indigenous between 2006-2012. Although this cannot be directly or solely attributed to the RAP, the Plan has certainly helped, and represents one target achieved ahead of time – the aim of reaching 80 Indigenous psychologists in Australia by 2016, which has already been achieved.
The AIPEP draws on the perspectives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous university educators and support staff, psychology students, employers and Indigenous psychologists, in order to increase recruitment and retention of Indigenous psychology students and facilitate training pathways for Indigenous mental health workers.
A formal Indigenous employment and mentoring strategy has not yet been developed for the APS itself, however the APS employed its first Aboriginal staff member during the period of the RAP, and has auspiced AIPA projects employing a number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander psychologists and other staff.
Indigenous businesses have been engaged where possible and appropriate throughout the APS organisation for catering, artwork, media and staff recruitment purposes. n
See the final report of the APS RAP for full details of all achievements: APS Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).