Progress on Voyages’ IES Strategy: July 2020-December 2020
Investment Decision: May 2018. Construction completed: December 2019
COVID- 19 Impacts on Voyages Operations
Whilst operations are back up and running at Ayers Rock Resort (ARR), it is at a reduced capacity and COVID-19 measures continues to significantly impact ARR.
Management continue to work within the confines of COVID-19 however are striving to remain focused on key operational areas of, Teamwork and Leadership, Guest Focus, Indigenous Employment & Experiences, Cash flow, IT Transformation and Capital and Projects at ARR.
The Indigenous Engagement Team continue to deliver all programs, both remotely and face-to-face working within the specified restrictions (when required). Engagement has been maintained with key stakeholders in the Ngaanyatjarra Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara (NPY) region, and staff continue to adhere to all community led responses and initiatives designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 in remote Aboriginal communities.
From July to December there were 29 NITA Trainees across two intakes for the period.
IES Progress to December 2020 – Wellbeing Program (Social and Emotional Wellbeing)
One objective of the national Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) framework is to guide the development and direction of mental health and social and emotional wellbeing programs. At Ayers Rock Resort, SEWB principles and models of conceiving social and emotional wellbeing have been applied and adapted across the Wellbeing Team’s policy and operational focuses to be uniquely implemented in:
- a remote commercial cultural tourism operation (Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia has a 40% Indigenous workforce, with a target of 5% Anangu employment at ARR);
- a multicultural context (diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are represented in Yulara with the most recent ABS data also showing that 30% of people living in Yulara have two parents born overseas).
We began by thinking about the ways SEWB as a strengths-based, holistic and whole-of-life approach to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples applies in the regional context for Anangu, and then the ways it can be applied and adapted to the diverse local context of Yulara.
The Wellbeing program has four pillars: Counselling, Activities, Education and Responding to Critical Incidents. In 2020 we developed a counselling service that is trauma informed and guided primarily by the therapeutic relationship. We use a range of therapeutic modalities tailored to the specific needs of the individual and aim to provide a safe therapeutic space which empowers the client in making choices to take some control in their therapeutic journey.
2020 was also a great phase in developing our other programs including providing SEWB education opportunities across the resort and working collaboratively with a range of stakeholders to develop a comprehensive coordinated response to critical incidents in Yulara.
We delivered a range of wellbeing activities ranging from a regular social walking group and fundraising car wash at the fire station to raise money for the Anangu Communities Foundation, to camp cook outs, volunteering with Parks Australia at Uluru Kata Tjuta National Park, and cultural immersion experiences with IWIRI and Maruku Arts. Participants said:
“Honestly, I doubt it could be improved. I would do it all again (placements permitting), in a heart-beat. Sincere thanks to all concerned, for the organisation and delivery of this wonderful experience. To be in the company of such eminent First Nations Peoples, has been an honour & a privilege. It is something I will remember & treasure, for the rest of my life.”
We are looking forward to 2021.
Voyages are seeking to develop and implement strategic approaches to building relationships with and providing opportunities for local Indigenous businesses through regional engagement at remote service delivery sites and have committed to seek to achieve an Indigenous Procurement target of 3%.
A Case Study factsheet on Voyages Indigenous Tourism Australia can be viewed here.