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Feature: Indigenous Employee Forum

Diversity drives innovation, which is critical when responding to crime impacting Australia. We are committed to creating an environment where everyone feels respected, valued and empowered to be themselves and bring their best selves to work—an inclusive, equitable and accessible workplace that reflects the Australian community.

We established the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group to develop our Reconciliation Action Plan 2018–20, in consultation with all staff, and to oversee the progress of the planned outcomes.

The Reconciliation Action Plan 2018–20 outlines practical actions that we will take to build strong relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and enhance respect between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians. It includes a commitment to investigate opportunities to expand employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the ACIC.

As a result of the working group’s activities, the ACIC held its first Indigenous Employee Forum, bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff together, in Canberra on 21 November 2018.

Facilitated by the Supply Nation accredited consultancy Building Indigenous Capability, the forum provided an opportunity for people to be inspired and generate innovative ideas about how ACIC can further support its Indigenous staff.

The forum’s highlights included a Welcome to Country by Elder Aunty Louise Brown and a yarning circle, which is a harmonious, creative and collaborative way of communicating to build openness, honesty and trust.

ACIC CEO Michael Phelan addressed the forum, outlining four key focus areas for improvement:

  • increasing the representation of Indigenous employees
  • expanding the range of Indigenous employment opportunities
  • investing in developing the capability of Indigenous employees
  • improving awareness of Indigenous culture in the workplace.

Our Indigenous Champion and Deputy Indigenous Champion also attended the forum to help drive meaningful discussion.

Key themes highlighted during the day included leading powerfully in the workplace, managing change in the Australian Public Service, and creating culture, action and outcomes through language and conversations.

Forum participants said that they enjoyed working through issues facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and appreciated the opportunity to hold robust group discussions with our agency’s leaders throughout the day.