Reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians.


In the spirit of reconciliation, the ARA recognises the critical role that First Nations peoples continue to play as Australia’s first traders, with a sophisticated network for trading paths that have enabled the exchange of goods, knowledge and culture over land and sea for millennia.

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land that we live, learn and work on, recognise their connections to country, and pay our respects to Elders past and present.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan

The ARA’s first Reconciliation Action Plan was endorsed by Reconciliation Australia in July 2022 and will run for 18 months until December 2023.

The purpose of our plan is to outline the initiatives we will implement to build internal capability and work towards our vision for reconciliation. We will initially focus on those things we can control ourselves but use our influence to increase awareness and action about reconciliation.  

Our Position on Reconciliation​

Equality is a fundamental human right for all and the retail sector has an important role to play in addressing inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

In line with our commitment to reconciliation, the ARA supports the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the establishment of a First Nations Voice to Parliament enshrined in the Constitution. 


The ARA is committed to enabling respectful and informed debate about the referendum to establish a First Nations Voice to Parliament.

First Nations Voice to Parliament

On the 14th of October this year, Australians will be asked to vote in a referendum on the proposed constitutional amendment to introduce a First Nations Voice to Parliament.

Australians will be asked to provide a yes or no answer to the following question:

“A Proposed Law: to alter the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice. Do you approve this proposed alteration?”

What is the Voice?

The Voice was proposed in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It will be an independent advisory body made of up of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander people, chosen by local communities. The Voice would advise the Australian parliament and government on matters relating to the social, spiritual and economic wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and make representations on matters relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

What role will the Voice play?

The Voice will be a mechanism to provide independent advice to the parliament and government, who would be obliged to consult on matters that overwhelmingly relate to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, such as native title, employment, housing, community development programs or heritage protection.

What will the Voice not do? 

The Voice will be an advisory body, not a regulatory body. This means it would not deliver services, manage government funding, conduct research or mediate between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. It will not have a veto power.

How the voice will be set up?

Subject to a successful referendum outcome, representatives to the Voice will be chosen by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people based on the wishes of local communities. It will be community-led, inclusive and culturally-informed, gender-balanced and include youth. 

Building awareness about the Voice 

Learn about the 100-year pursuit for a First Nations Voice, what would be added to the constitution and what a Voice would mean for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. Click here to read more from Reconciliation Australia.

Learning what the Voice means

This free online course provides information so that all Australians can inform themselves about the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the upcoming referendum to enshrine an Indigenous Voice to Parliament in the Australian Constitution. Take to the course here.

The myths demystified

Prominent First Nations educator Shelley Reys AO provides a series of video vignettes demystifying the Voice, and dispelling myths that the Voice will be too risky, that it will be another Canberra-based bureaucracy, and that it will have the power to pass laws.  Watch here

Concerns about the Voice

This online resource from Australian National University provides responses to common concerns about the Voice. It is intended to help people better understand some of the complex issues and confusing commentary so they can make an informed decision.  More here

The role of allies

Professor Tom Calma AO from University of Canberra talks about the role that informed allies can play in dispelling disinformation about the Voice and encouraging respectful. informed discussion between people who hold different views. More here

The Voice through a human rights lens

The Australian Human Rights Commission has produced an educational resource kit to encourage the Australian public to consider the Uluru Statement from the Heart and the Indigenous Voice to Parliament referendum through a human rights lens. Download here.


Raising awareness about reconciliation

Reconciliation Australia’s Share Our Pride toolkit provides helpful information about Australia’s First Nations peoples, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and our shared history post-1788. The toolkit also breaks down myths and stereotypes and provides information about how to establish respectful relationships. More here.

Developing a Reconciliation Action Plan

Working in collaboration with Reconciliation Australia, the ARA will host a series of webinars providing information to members about how to develop a Reconciliation Action Plan. We’ll also be establishing peer learning opportunities for like-minded retailers on their reconciliation own journeys. Register your interest here


Supporting the re-emergence of First Nations Traders

Part of our vision for reconciliation is that First Nations retailers will have equal opportunity to grow their businesses, to support and empower the re-emergence of First Nations traders. To help deliver on this vision, the ARA is offering 12 months free premium membership to Indigenous-owned retail businesses.

Incorporating a strong First Nations voice into the ARA

The ARA is inviting expressions of interest from current and new members to join the ARA’s Advisory Committee for First Nations Retailers, alongside 18 other committees that provide expert advice and guidance to the ARA. The committee will also provide networking and peer learning opportunities for First Nations retailers. 


The following ARA members have made their own commitments to reconciliation