This strategy aims to accelerate improvements in ‘closing the gap’ in social and economic outcomes between Indigenous Australians and non-Indigenous Australians.
As employers, all Commonwealth agencies have a responsibility to contribute to the Closing the Gap priority—Economic Development for strong Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce participation. In fulfilling this responsibility, the Commonwealth is well placed to offer career pathways into and across the public sector to better support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees through career development, retention and advancement. This will play a part in ‘closing the gap’ between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in life expectancy, employment and educational outcomes and productivity.
- Increased ongoing representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees at all levels of the commonwealth public sector will be achieved by improving the employee experience for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees across the commonwealth, and enhancing the capabilities of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce.
- One strategic focus area for the strategy is cultural integrity. Improving and embedding the understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture in the workplace to support the development of culturally-safe work spaces and services, and creating a more inclusive commonwealth public sector.
- Commonwealth agencies recognise there is a need to continue building trust with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their communities. Improving the public service employee value proposition to attract and engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, together with positive workplace experiences will have a positive impact on retention.
- The strategy aims to encourage larger agencies to work collaboratively with smaller agencies within their respective portfolio in progressing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment, development and retention initiatives.
- Commonwealth agencies are to establish data collection and reporting mechanisms to monitor their progress towards achieving these portfolio outcomes. An interim evaluation of the Strategy implementation will be undertaken in 2022 to measure progress and identify areas of strengths and future priority needs to achieve the outcomes of the Strategy.
A continued shift in mindsets and behaviours will be key to making sustained progress. Inclusive, trauma-informed workplaces can contribute to positive workplace experiences that underpin the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, while at the same time helping the Commonwealth public sector build a workforce that is capable of responding to the needs of the Australian community.