The first step in a Journey Together

HOYTS has launched its inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), signifying the company’s commitment to supporting, strengthening, and advancing relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and non-Indigenous Peoples.

Endorsed by Reconciliation Australia, the RAP covers the HOYTS Group of companies, which includes HOYTS and Val Morgan.

HOYTS CEO Damian Keogh said the company has always strived to provide a safe and inclusive space, but it was important to direct a greater focus towards encouraging a more reconciled nation.

“As one of the largest employers of young people in Australia, I understand social justice and sustainability must be central to who we are as an organisation,” Damian said.

“This Reflect RAP is an opportunity for the HOYTS Group to build upon our existing initiatives and to signal our commitment to building relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander associations, businesses and Peoples, and increasing understanding and respect for traditional cultures.”

The Reflect RAP details how the HOYTS Group will commit to advancing reconciliation, involving the promotion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ content on screens, fostering employee understanding and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and culture, and developing meaningful partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Val Morgan will be exploring how it can leverage its screen network and its relationships to achieve these objectives. 

The HOYTS Group already has a partnership with the Fred Hollows Foundation, working together to close the gap in eye health for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Each cinema and support office displays an Acknowledgement of Country plaque, with digital screens and posters in cinemas also displaying an Acknowledgement of Country specific to the land on which the relevant cinema is located. There is also an internal company resource covering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander engagement, to develop employees’ cultural awareness.

The HOYTS Group commissioned Kabi Kabi artist Jason Douglas to create a significant piece of artwork that is now displayed in the HOYTS Group Sydney office and features in the RAP. Entitled Birrang Mawang, which means ‘journey together’ in Dharug/Darug language, the piece depicts concentric circles that represent the symbiotic relationship between HOYTS and Val Morgan employees and their journey towards a deeper understanding of First Nations culture and history.

Jason designed and started the painting before taking it into the HOYTS Group Sydney office where he helped guide staff members as they completed the piece as a team.

Jason, who is also managing director of Dalmarri, a Supply Nation-certified organisation that specialises in Indigenous engagement, learning and connection for all communities, said that there’s no better way to begin the ‘journey together’ than to unite in collaboration.

“It was an honour to explain the meaning of the different aspects of Birrang Mawang and illustrate how everyone fits into the circles and pathways,” Jason said.

“As an artist, it was really rewarding to see how picking up a brush helped the team really connect and engage with the values of reconciliation.”

The HOYTS Group hosted an in-house ceremony to commemorate the launch of their RAP on 26 February 2024, with Brendan Kerin, Marrawarra/Barkindji cultural representative of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, performing the Welcome to Country and bringing to life Dreamtime stories through his yidaki (didgeridoo) performance. 

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