Our YARN Committee which drives the work in our RAP is lead by partners and staff who are committed to taking steps towards reconciliation and creating conversations beyond the law. Holding a number of events across the year, our YARN Group is an integral part of the firm’s inclusion and diversity strategy.
Our Innovate RAP
Since our first Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in July 2019 we are proud of the relationships we have developed and the work we have done with our stakeholders as part of these relationships. In November 2022 we developed our second Innovate RAP which continues our journey and demonstrate how these relationships have strengthened over this time.
In May 2022, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dedicated Memorial Queensland sculpture was unveiled in Brisbane’s ANZAC Square.
Designed by John Smith Gumbula, and sculpted by Liam Hardy of Sculpt Studios, the sculpture represents past, present and future service of our First Nations people, and hopes to assist in bridging the culture and traditions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their contributions to our shared military history.
Through our pro-bono commitments, McCullough Robertson is proud to have assisted the ATSIDMQI with the intellectual property aspects involved in the design, creation and manufacturing of the memorial, as well as the donation of the memorial to the Trustee of the ANZAC Square Reserve as a gift for the people of Queensland.
McCullough Robertson Endowed Scholarship
Established in early 2014, the McCullough Robertson Endowed Scholarship for Law Students is an opportunity offered to University of Queensland First Nations law students studying, or intending to study Law. It runs in perpetuity and is aimed at providing socially or financially disadvantaged recipients with support to progress their studies.
First Nations Business Program
In partnership with Griffith University, our First Nations Business Program is a scholarship giving recipients the opportunity to focus their experience within the business discipline of their choice for a period of four weeks working full time.
Recipients will also have the opportunity to rotate across other business support groups to strengthen their practical understanding and broaden their experience of business-related matters and theories learnt at university.
First Nations Legal Clerkship Program
In partnership with Griffith University, our First Nations Legal Clerkship Program is a four-week program providing recipients with valuable and real-world practical experience.
Working closely with our partners on complex and high-profile matters, our Clerkship program is also an opportunity for recipients to kick start their career with McCullough Robertson, completing our Clerkship Program considered for ongoing casual opportunities and our 18-month Graduate Program.
Case study – APN Cape York
Aak Puul Ngantam Limited (APN) facilitates the return of Southern Wik and Kugu People to Country in a manner that is culturally, environmentally and economically sustainable.
Its objectives relate to addressing issues and needs for the community through collective solutions that assist members of that community, including assisting the Traditional Owners return to their homelands, transferring traditional knowledge, maintaining natural resources of the homelands and supporting Southern Wik and Kugu people to improve their health, emotional and educational outcomes.
McCullough Robertson is privileged to be APN’s recognised legal partner. Over the past year, we have provided over $110,000 of pro bono work for the organisation. Most recently, we have been doing a variety of work with APN, including providing strategic advice to the Board, employment advice (reviewing various staff policies, awards and drafting employment contracts), and assisting with leasing documentation and negotiations.
Our relationship with APN has been collaborative across the firm, with authors across our Project Approvals, Corporate, Real Estate, Employment Relations and Safety teams, providing strategic advice to the organisation. We have also assisted APN with non-legal pro bono support, with our Human Resources team recently advising on job descriptions, policies and employment agreements.
Dominic McGann, APN’s Key Relationship Partner, has played an integral role in building this relationship. Recently Dominic visited APN ‘on Country’ and this was integral to Dominic furthering our relationship with APN, gaining a unique insight into the organisation and its operations.
Patrick Tancred on country
In September 2021 Patrick Tancred, a member of the firms RAP Working Group, was fortunate enough to be a guest of APN Cape York on the Tha’ Pemp Wuut Mankantam (The Returning Generation Camp). The camp, which occurs annually brings together Traditional Owners, APN Rangers and the local year six students from Koolkan Aurukun State School.
The camp takes place at the Blue Lagoon outstation which is situated near the Archer river, south of Aurukun on Southern Wik Land. The camp’s aim is to assist the community in taking their young people out to their homelands and on to Country – and for many of the children, this is their first time.
Patrick, who has been at McCullough Robertson since 2013 and involved in the RAP Working Group since 2019, was honoured to be invited and welcomed onto Wik Country as a representative of the firm. His aim for the visit was to immerse himself into Wik culture and to continue to cultivate the strong relationship between APN Cape York and McCullough Robertson.
While on Country, Patrick immersed himself in the camp’s activities of bushwalking, bush food collection, humpy building, fishing in the Archer river and artefact making. These activities were taught by the APN Rangers, Traditional Owners and local teachers all with the aim of teaching the younger generation about caring for Country and passing on local traditions.
A strong emphasis was placed on teaching the children healthy habits for both their mental and physical wellbeing. By having a holistic approach to learning that incorporates conventional with Wik customs and traditions, the children learn how to contribute positivity within their community and develop the skills needed to grow into strong leaders ready to lead future Wik generations.
The camp is just one of many inspiring examples of how APN Cape York is helping the families of the Aurukun community return to their traditional homelands and pass down their culture in a manner that is culturally, environmentally and economically sustainable.
“The connection the Southern Wik people have with Country is one that should be treated with great gravitas and reverence. Spending time on Country has further solidified my belief that we must assist Traditional Owners in getting back to Country. To do this we must walk alongside them and be a helping friend instead of trying to lead the way like so many who have come before. The journey will be long and not without tribulation, but is essential for any lasting and meaningful relationships to be forged.” – Patrick Tancred
McCullough Robertson would like to extend their sincere thanks to APN Cape York for hosting Patrick on Country and look forward to continuing the strong working relationship shared between our organisations.