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“We have a responsibility to do the right thing”: Intrepid introduces Reconciliation Action Plan

Ali Coulton

Ali Coulton

Intrepid Group has launched a new Reconciliation Action Plan,  formalising its commitment to supporting reconciliation and closing the gap between Australia’s First Nations people and non-Indigenous Australians.

The plan outlines how the company will work toward this goal by upping its game in supporting First Nations businesses, furthering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leadership through partnerships and building cultural awareness throughout their business.

“It’s a reflection of what we have and haven’t been doing and its an opportunity to take stock of that and put together a plan for the next 12 months around what we’re going to do to improve that,” Leigh Barnes, Intrepid’s chief purpose officer told Travel Weekly

“And that involves a range of things, from educating our staff and our customers to making tangible changes to our products and to engage more first nations people across the business.”

According to Barnes, a main driver in the project was the realisation that while Intrepid does a lot of good globally, they weren’t doing enough in their own backyard.

Being an Australian business we have an obligation and responsibility to ensure we’re doing the right things here and have a positive impact in Australia,” he said. 

Intrepid worked with Reconciliation Australia, a not-for-profit organisation aimed at enabling Australians to contribute to reconciliation, to formalise their commitment and turn their good intentions into positive actions.

They also teamed up with Dixon Patton, a Yorta Yorta and Gunnai man and has family bloodlines from Gunditjmara, Dhudhuroa, Wiradjuri, Yuin, Wemba Wemba, Barapa Barapa, Monaro, who worked on the artworks for the reconciliation plan, and commissioned Robert Young, a Gunnai, Gunditjmarra, Yorta Yorta, Wiradjuri man to paint a mural in Intrepid’s Melbourne office.

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“Robert came in and did a big mural on our wall describing the intrepid journey and that connection with Australia,” Barnes said.

“We also had a big staff engagement piece where staff were able to come, put a handprint on the mural and talk to Robert about our first nations people here in Melbourne.”

The adventure travel company are already involved with some great initiatives supporting Australia’s First Peoples, including a carbon management program in West Arnhem Land and supporting Mission Australia’s Cafe One program.

“It’s more than just statements of intent, there’s a tangible sense of also saying ‘these are the things we’re doing that are helping first nations people’,” Barnes told us. 

It’s got to be a blend of education and action.

“All organisations should be looking at ways they can do better, engage and also educate their staff and customers.

“Specifically for Australian based tourism businesses, there’s some amazing indigenous stories out there and some really great work that people are doing and there are some really great tourism products that can be created.

“For the tourism sector, there are some really big opportunities for companies to step up and be more involved with our first nations people,” he concluded. 

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