Indigenous and non-indigenous Australians don't trust each other but almost everyone agrees the relationship is important, Reconciliation Australia says.

The organisation's Barometer 2012 report, which surveys the relationships between indigenous and non-indigenous people, says there has been little significant change in attitudes nationally.

The survey found we don't trust each other and only about half of those surveyed felt proud of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, Reconciliation Australia co-chair Tom Calma says.

"Most people surveyed did not believe the relationship was very good and only half of those believe it was improving," Dr Calma said.

However, it was a different story in a second survey, which found vast improvements in attitudes among indigenous and non-indigenous people working in organisations with a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

Launched in 2006, RAPs are plans organisations make to identify ways to improve the relationship between indigenous people and other Australians both within the organisation and more widely.

In a survey of the more than 350 Australian organisations that now have a RAP it was found 71 per cent of people there trusted each other compared to 13 per cent in the broader community.

RAP organisations employ nearly 19,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, purchase about $58 million of services from certified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and provide more than $15 million worth of pro-bono support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations.

"But RAPs are about more than creating jobs and opportunities," Dr Calma said on Tuesday.

"They are also having an enormous impact on reducing mistrust and ignorance and building real personal relationships between First Peoples and other Australians."

More than three quarters of people (77 per cent) in organisations with a RAP felt pride in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures compared to 51 per cent in the broader community surveyed by the Barometer report, he said.

Dr Calma said RAPs are changing workplace culture and attitudes and laying the foundation for significant economic and social outcomes.

 

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