Statement on 26 January

Our mission at Social Ventures Australia (SVA) is to work towards an Australia where all people and communities can thrive.

A reconciled Australia is key to this vision, where First Nations people’s rights and opportunities are guaranteed.

We believe that achieving this goal requires institutional, policy, service and funding change – all with a focus on increasing First Nations communities’ opportunity for self-determination and self-governance.

None of this can be done without putting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities at the centre of our work. In our experience, it is by listening to the voices of First Nations people inside our organisation, across our networks and in our communities that we can take the greatest steps towards seeing this vision become a reality.

That is especially important today.

26 January is not a day of celebration for many First Nations people. It marks the beginning of colonisation and all the things that came with it: genocide, racism, and the loss of culture, language, and family.

The effects of 26 January reach into the present and continue to impact the lives of First Nations people in Australia. We welcome the current debate around the meaning of 26 January as a national holiday. We are learning to listen primarily to First Nations voices, then engage with and share resources for those who want to know more.

We are also solemnly reflecting on what this day means for First Nations people. In line with the 2022 NAIDOC theme ‘Get up, Stand up, Show Up’, we have committed to use this year to consider and plan the actions that we will take as individuals and as an organisation.

Today and every day, SVA acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the original custodians of this land, and we pay our respect to Elders past and present. We thank them for their wisdom and knowledge in caring for the land that we all live on, and for their grace in working with us to counteract the ongoing impacts of colonisation. There is much to be done to achieve a reconciled Australia, and as an ally organisation, SVA still has much to learn.

But today and every day, we stand in solidarity with First Nations people and commit to working with them towards an Australia where all people and communities can thrive.