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Performance snapshot

For 57 years, AIATSIS has continued to achieve results for the benefit of all Australians. In 2020–21, against the backdrop of a pandemic, we achieved the following performance highlights.

This year, we self-rated our performance. Three of five of the strategies rated 1 (fully achieved, very few or no shortcomings). The strategy focusing on promotion rated 2 (substantially achieved, despite a few shortcomings) because our survey methodology is being refined and we could not meet a published target. The strategy focusing on our collection rated 3 (partially achieved, benefits and shortcomings finely balanced) because the pandemic influenced direct access to the Collection.

Build and preserve a national collection and make it accessible

Progress on ensuring our collection is representative, relevant, diverse, accessible and digital.

  • 22 per cent increase in items supplied from the AIATSIS Collection, indicative of the growing awareness of the services offered by AIATSIS and the increased discoverability and accessibility of the Collection
  • 489 per cent increase in requests for collection items by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups, while requests by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals increased by 16 per cent
  • The average increase in digitised collection material during the year was 2.79 per cent which did not achieve the 5 per cent target, however 83.59 per cent of all at-risk accessioned collection materials held on magnetic media have now been digitised.

Promote better understanding of Indigenous peoples’ cultures and heritage

Progress on ensuring we are the national forum for dialogue and we are delivering transformative experiences and high quality exhibitions, products and publications.

  • 63 per cent increase in AIATSIS Newsletter subscribers (excluding the Native Title and Research Exchange Newsletter subscribers)
  • 53.6 per cent increase in our social media audience
  • 30 per cent growth in institutional take up Core cultural learning
  • 28 Aboriginal Studies Press (ASP) publications and other publications exceeding the target of 8
  • 29 per cent authors publishing via ASP are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Lead and influence on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research, ethics, protocols and collections

Progress on ensuring we speak authoritatively, articulate national priorities, arbitrate standards and innovate in ethical, impactful evidence-based research and collection practices.

  • 623 downloads of the new AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research in the first 10 days after its release in October 2020
  • 500 per cent increase in ethics clearances, far exceeding the target
  • 423 per cent increase in requests for advice, including requests for advice on ethics, education, language and native title and requests to participate on advisory committees, boards and review panels
  • 1057 downloads of Austlang data exceeding the target of 600
  • $7.06 million (59 per cent) increase in the value of partnerships.

Partner and collaborate with our communities, partners and governments

Progress on ensuring we have diverse and enduring partnerships and networks in Australia and across the world underpinned by culturally competent work practices.

  • 23 new members added to our network, exceeding the target of 10 and bringing the total to 657 active members
  • 48 collaborations and 16 networks supported our work, exceeding the target of 3 of each and an increase from previous year's total
  • 150 interactions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities exceeding the target of 50
  • 2 new agreements were made with strategic partners bringing the total to 18 exceeding the target of 5
  • 39 partnership projects were undertaken and 7 projects completed exceeding the target of 20 partnership projects.

Advise on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage

Progress on ensuring we are a trusted adviser delivering world class expertise on the situation and status of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and heritage.

  • 20 reports and briefs delivered, exceeding the target of 5
  • 74 ministers, decision-makers, policy leaders, advisers and senior public servants meaningfully engaged, far exceeding the target of 10.

Create a great place to work

Progress on strengthening and enhancing our capability to achieve our mission.

The 2020–21 Portfolio Budget Statements and the associated Corporate Plan ending in June 2024 do not publish targets for improving AIATSIS’ capabilities and cost-effective services. However, to inform our stakeholders we record the following achievements.

  • 32 per cent of the APS workforce are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander ongoing staff, an increase of 2 per cent
  • 27 per cent of the 80 female APS staff are in leadership positions
  • 38 per cent of the 54 male APS staff are in leadership positions.

Progress on delivering cost-effective services to and for government on behalf of all our stakeholders.

  • $19.4 million direct funding compared to $20.4 million last year
  • $9.8 million revenue generated from other sources, compared to $7.8 million last year