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Case study - On the road to reconciliation

Two years into DHA’s inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), we have introduced a number of important initiatives to ensure we not only promote awareness, but truly embed reconciliation into our work culture.

DHA welcomed our first Indigenous apprentices through the Australian Public Service Indigenous Apprentices Program (IAP) run by Services Australia. Two apprentices commenced in our Darwin regional office in late January 2020 and are training to fulfil one of our critical front line roles as a property manager. In addition, they are studying to complete a Diploma in Government which is a nationally recognised qualification. The IAP is a 12 month engagement providing apprentices with on the job training and formal external studies. This year marks our inaugural participation in IAP and we look forward to welcoming more apprentices in the future.

In early 2020, DHA partnered with the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) by including this charity in our staff Workplace Giving Program. The ILF is now one of nine not for profit organisations that staff can make donations too. This is facilitated by our payroll operations where staff can make donations directly from their salary. We strengthened our partnership with the ILF in May and June by celebrating National Reconciliation Week 2020 with a ‘Great Book Swap’ to raise funds for the ILF’s inspirational work with remote Indigenous communities to close the literacy gap.

This year we launched an online inclusion training program which has been designed to provide all staff with core skills and knowledge around the importance of inclusion and diversity in our workplace. The modules include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, LGBTQI+, gender, age, disability and cultural diversity. It has been designed to provide all DHA staff with core skills and knowledge around the importance of inclusion and diversity and to create a more inclusive workplace and work practices in our organisation.

We have embarked on a rigorous review of our procurement policy to ensure it continues to align with the Australian Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy and provides the best opportunity to utilise our membership with Supply Nation. In December 2019, DHA awarded a contract to Indigenous cleaning company, Pacific Facility Services for the provision of cleaning services to 11 of DHA’s offices around the country. DHA is now also participating in the Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Discussion Group. Established in 2019, its purpose is to share best practice, resources and lessons learnt in relation to each agency’s procurement with Indigenous businesses. The group provides an opportunity to build networks between Australian Government procurement practitioners who have oversight for the implementation of the Indigenous Procurement Policy or supplier diversity within their respective agencies.

Our RAP Working Group and Leadership Team have worked closely with Reconciliation Australia over the previous 12 months to draft our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan which will drive the second phase of our reconciliation journey.