Nicole Findlay Yarns About Reconciliation Victoria


Nicole Findlay is the new Chief Executive Officer of Reconciliation Victoria. Nicole is an advocate, ally, accomplice, friend, listener, learner, mentor and business partner working alongside Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for the best part of 20 years.

Nicole’s a proud Mum of two boys, two dogs and one cat. She’s a reconciliation champion full-time, a yoga teacher part-time and has a big compassionate heart, fierce determination and an unrelenting drive to see true recognition and respect for First Nations peoples, cultures and countries. Reconciliation Victoria is the statewide body promoting reconciliation across Victoria. This means that we promote deeper understanding, respect and justice for and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Our work focuses primarily on the 97% of Victorians who are not Aboriginal, as it is non-Aboriginal people who need to take responsibility for driving reconciliation. This work is guided by local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices.

Nicole worked in the Aboriginal employment sector since 2002. Co-founded an Aboriginal employment social enterprise in 2017. She writes and supports Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) across the state and has extensive connections working with Victorian local governments, education and community service stakeholders. Much of Nicole’s work history has involved working in consultation and partnership with Traditional Owners and many First Nations peoples and communities to develop strategic partnership projects and services to close disparity gaps for and with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Nicole is a deep thinker and listener. She’s has had a life-long journey learning and being interested in First Nations cultures, knowledge and philosophies. She is most at home sitting in conversation with community and Elders learning about the many layers, richness and complexities of community and country. Nicole recognises and values the vast knowledge, culture and connections that live on within country and First Nations communities.

Nicole is excited to be joining Reconciliation Victoria and is looking forward to delving in to better understanding the true state of community attitudes towards reconciliation across Victoria. She’s eager to meet and connect with all Reconciliation Victoria’s networks, allies and friends. As a leader with a strong lens in two worlds, Nicole understands reconciliation is about taking time to acknowledge the past, to build mutually respectful relationships, and to be honest and open in how we work together. How we share knowledge, care for each other, community and country.

Reconciliation 'Reconciliation' is about Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians talking, walking, and working together to overcome the division and inequality between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. It is about addressing and acknowledging our true history and righting the wrongs. It is not one act but a journey that requires a commitment from non-Indigenous Australians to take ownership and responsibility for their own learning and role in the process of reconciliation.

The Five Dimensions of Reconciliation Reconciliation Victoria defines meaningful reconciliation through five key inter-related dimensions, based on Reconciliation Australia’s State of Reconciliation in Australia Report (2016). In Victoria, we see these five dimensions as: 1. Overcoming racism and understanding white privilege and power relations: Strong legal protection against racism; zero tolerance for racism across the community; strong cultural awareness and competence within organisations and communities. 2. Achieving equitable outcomes in justice, health, education and employment between Aboriginal and other Victorians: Appropriately resourced programs enabling the achievement of equity through self-determination; Victorian government achieving Closing the Gap targets. 3. Developing a new State-wide identity: The sovereignty of Aboriginal people is recognised by all (including through establishing a Treaty); the significance of self-determination is recognised and valued; all Victorians have an opportunity to connect with a shared sense of place. 4. Ensuring government, corporate and community accountability: State government policy outcomes are transparent; appropriate protocols/principles inform state government policy development; organisations are accountable for their reconciliation plans and commitments, and are developing MOUs with Aboriginal groups and communities. 5. Addressing historical injustice: Truthful education of Australian history and integration of Aboriginal history into curriculum; full implementation of the Bringing Them Home Report (1997) recommendations to address lack of justice for those affected by Stolen Generations; full implementation of the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody Report recommendations (1991); and truthful community narratives of local history - such as memorials to frontier wars, place names reflecting shared history and local Aboriginal language.

In addition to the above dimensions, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007) also underpins our work and provides an additional framework for us to understand meaningful reconciliation.