Queensland's Minister for the Commonwealth Games Kate Jones joined representatives of the state's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to celebrate the launch of the Gold Coast 2018 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
The RAP is a business initiative documenting what organisations can do within their sphere of influence to contribute to "reconciliation" in Australia, outlining practical actions they can take.
The decision to develop the RAP was taken in 2015, with Gold Coast 2018 claiming it would help to generate awareness and recognise indigenous culture, as well as building respect for traditional land owners.
It is hoped the plan will help to increase understanding of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, in turn increasing respect of the values and heritage of Australia’s First Peoples.
"The RAP is an opportunity for Games partners to deliver legacy outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples," Jones, who is also Queensland's Minister for Education, Minister for Tourism, Major Events and Small Business, said.
"I commend the Gold Coast 2018 Yugambeh Elders Advisory Group, the Indigenous Working Group and the Embracing 2018 RAP Implementation Team for working closely with Games partners to encourage employment and training opportunities and greater cultural awareness.
"As we move closer to the Games, we will continue to strengthen a legacy of relationships, respect and opportunities in Queensland."
Since announcing the development of a RAP in 2015, the Office of the Commonwealth Games and Gold Coast 2018 have been implementing several reconciliation activities.
Gains have been made across many areas such as internal procurement, employment, staff training, events and cultural awareness initiatives, it is claimed.
The development of the Gold Coast 2018 Yugambeh Elders Advisory Group, Indigenous Working Group and the Embracing 2018 Indigenous Implementation Team have also been hailed as milestones on the "journey towards a more inclusive Queensland community".
The initiative is expected to be a major feature during next year's Games, scheduled to take place between April 4 and 15.
"I am extremely proud of the initiative and passion that has underpinned the development of the Gold Coast 2018 RAP and the subsequent outcomes generated as a result of our commitment," said Gold Coast 2018 chairman Peter Beattie.
"It is very fitting that this launch is taking place during reconciliation week and it very aptly supports the theme of ‘Let’s take next steps’.
"There are few things more powerful or moving in this country than the collective experience, traditions and insights that tell the story of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples cultures over hundreds of generations.
"The early engagement with the traditional custodians to form the Yugambeh Elders Advisory Group and the Indigenous Working Group, supporting local first nation businesses, the ongoing inclusion of cultural activities at events and the use of Yugambeh language across a variety of Gold Coast 2018 initiatives, to name just a few actions, all augur well for a greater awareness and understanding of our cultural heritage.
"The Gold Coast 2018 RAP will leave a lasting legacy in many ways but particularly by setting a benchmark for future host nations of the Commonwealth Games and by highlighting the important role first nations peoples play in celebrating tradition and culture across communities."