Case Study E1 : Indigenous initiatives
In July 2005, the department had three staff who identified themselves as Indigenous. By June 2006, this number had risen to 14 (this includes three Indigenous trainees (see notes to Table 5.8)). The department established two major initiatives during 2005-06 to encourage recruitment and retention of more Indigenous staff-the Indigenous Employment Strategy and the Indigenous Professional Development Network.
The Indigenous Employment Strategy has as its objectives the recruitment of employees who reflect the diversity of our clients and who demonstrate the potential to develop the capabilities needed to assist us to meet our organisational outcomes. Through the strategy, we also seek to increase the number of Indigenous Australians working in the department and equip them with the skills to embark on a longer career with the department and, more broadly, with the Australian Public Service.
These objectives are being addressed by focusing on recruitment (broadening our sources of applicants); retention and development (including peer support networks, mentoring, enhancing capabilities, and promotion of flexible options for work-life balance); and a positive work environment (through its broader diversity strategy, the department is enhancing awareness among all employees of the importance of diversity and the issues facing Indigenous Australians in the workforce). Our Indigenous cultural awareness workshops are very popular with all staff, who find them informative and valuable.
Our second initiative supporting Indigenous staff is the operation of the Indigenous Professional Development Network. Since its establishment in late 2005-06, the network has developed a work plan to support its members with skills development, career guidance, peer support and recognition of community influences on Indigenous workers.
It is intended that network meetings be held face-to-face twice a year (with meetings alternately in Canberra and a regional location), with two to three-monthly teleconferences. Members derive great value from meeting with their peers to work on matters of general interest, and benefit from exposure to a range of work environments in both national and regional offices.