Today - 26 January - marks a day of survival and mourning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is always a difficult day for First Nations communities, but this year the grief is compounded by it being the first 26 January since last year's devastating referendum.

Reconciliation Australia recently announced the theme for this year's Reconciliation Week: "Now more than ever". Reconciliation Australia further explained that the theme "is a reminder to all of us that no matter what, the fight for justice and the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people will - and must - continue." As a mainstream criminal justice reintegration organisation, we take seriously our obligation to continue that fight; an obligation that has only been strengthened by the painful referendum result late last year. This and every 26 January, we commit to that work. 

The structural racism of the criminal justice system, leading to the over-incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, is this country's great shame. Through our partnerships with Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and our support of First Nations-led campaigns, we advocate for a move away from using policing and prisons as a response to criminalised behaviours, and towards community-led responses grounded in the principle of self-determination. Internally, we are nearing completion of our first Reconcilation Action Plan, which will honour the courage of the many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people Vacro supports and the work of the staunch First Nations Vacro employees who support them and all Vacro participants. 

"Now more than ever", all Australians must listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and perspectives on the significance of 26 January and take action to ensure the horrors of genocide and colonial occupation are not celebrated. Vacro therefore supports changing the date, in full recognition that for many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people simply changing the date does not go far enough. On and beyond 26 January, Vacro supports treaty, reparations, community control, and full self-determination for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and communities. 

Read our Statement: Vacro supports a Yes vote