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Indigenous engagement

We recognise that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have made and will continue to make extraordinary contributions to all aspects of Australian life, including culture, the economy and science.

The new Introduction to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness at CSIRO program was launched, which won a Platinum Award in the Best eLearning Design category at the LearnX 2019 Awards. At 30 June 2019, 36 per cent of staff had completed the online learning module.

Events were held at seven national sites to acknowledge the anniversary of the National Apology and to celebrate National Reconciliation Week.

Our Chief Executive, senior leaders and more than 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff attended the GARMA 2018 Festival, Australia’s largest Aboriginal-led cultural exchange. Eight members of our Education and Outreach team also led STEM‑based workshops at the Youth Forum.

We sought advice and developed CSIRO activities that better meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through our representative councils and committees, including the Indigenous Strategic Advisory Council, Independent Indigenous Reference Group, Indigenous Innovation Alliance, Health and Biosecurity Advisory Committee and the Indigenous STEM Education Project Steering Committee.

We were also awarded the Indigenous Girls’ STEM Academy program, in collaboration with CareerTrackers Indigenous Internship Program. The CSIRO Medal for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Engagement was awarded for the successful joint management at Arakwal National Park.

Reconciliation Action Plan 2018–20

In November, we launched our second Reconciliation Action Plan. This builds on our previous plan and the significant work undertaken since our Indigenous Engagement Strategy was implemented in 2007. Aligned to our organisational strategy, our Reconciliation Action Plan aims to increase partnerships, education, engagement, employment and procurement opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

We continued to make progress to achieve the plan’s commitments. In September, we invested in an Indigenous Capability Development Program, an initiative aimed to attract, recruit, retain and build future pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Through our Cultural Capability Framework, we increased our staff’s awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history.

We made progress towards achieving a three per cent representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in our workforce. Currently, two per cent of our employees identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, including 19 cadets and 16 trainees, along with 85 research, technical, administrative and management staff.

To enable greater support, engagement and visibility of career opportunities for Indigenous staff at CSIRO, we implemented a staff network, talent management database, and social media platforms.

We also developed relationships with 13 universities nationwide and established up to 25 Indigenous STEM scholarships, invested in 20 Indigenous staff and provided support to retain 34 Indigenous CSIRO staff.