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NAIDOC WEEK 2019 Voice. Treaty. Truth - Let's Work Together for a Shared Future

This NAIDOC Week (7-14 July 2019) has the theme “Voice. Treaty. Truth – Let’s work together for a shared future”. In my mind this is such an important and powerful theme and one that we should all look at and consider how we can incorporate into our lives.

Indigenous Accounting Forum

Last week, I attended the Indigenous Accounting Forum which was convened by Indigenous Accountants Australia, CA ANZ, CPA Australia and the AFA ANZ.

The forum had the following objectives:

  • To build awareness of Indigenous peoples, cultures, histories, and achievements

  • Learn more about the dramatic under-representation of Indigenous peoples in the Accounting profession

  • Understand more about Indigenous people’s cultural expectations and practices in relation to money, wealth, and doing business

  • Promote the opportunities that exist in engaging with Indigenous businesses in Australia

  • Educate, promote, and support the opportunities for Indigenous peoples in the Accounting profession

  • Develop strategies to turn dreams into reality for Indigenous people seeking to enter and succeed in the accounting profession

  • Learn more about the actions you can take to make a difference in this area.

After an Acknowledgement of Country by Uncle John Graham, we were provided with a, sometimes confronting, Keynote speech from Linda Ryle of Calm Assist. I learnt so many important things from Linda including (but not at all limited to):-

  • The impact and history of Trust Relationships on First Nations People and how this impacts so many interactions today.

  • The decision-making process of the First Nations People.

  • “Nothing About Us Without Us”

Linda also spoke about how we can move forward by:-

  • Challenging our own perspectives first;

  • Informing ourselves, our family and colleagues and truth telling;

  • Aligning only with culturally principled First Nations partners;

  • Engaging respectively and adhering to protocols;

  • Asking questions of the right people;

  • Undertaking cultural due diligence;

  • Establishing long term trust relationships;

  • Culturing up our businesses.

Dr Kerry Bodle presented on Indigenous Accounting. One of the biggest takeaways for me here was the difficulty that can be encountered in explaining concepts where the very basis for those concepts are not grounded in the same thinking. For example, the differences that can arise in dealing with issues of asset ownership or control when the underlying concept in some cultures is actually one of custodianship.

Another highlight was Matthew Lancaster convening a panel of Brooke Prentis CA, Kerry Bodle CPA and Angela Houston CA addressing the issue of “What does Diversity and Inclusion Look like in the real world and overcoming these challenges”. A candid and eye-opening discussion ensued which covered a number of issues such as Lateral Violence, Balance and Cultural Awareness Training – pretty heavy but absolutely necessary topics for this Accounting Forum!

Reconciliation Action Plan

One of the commitments SMB Advisory has made this year is to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan (“RAP”) for our organization. We will provide details of our RAP and our progress on our website and in future updates such as these.

For further information in the RAP process and how you can develop one for your organization see


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