DFAT recognises the importance of embracing workplace diversity, specifically valuing the unique qualities, attributes skills and experiences all employees bring to the workplace.
Diversity relates to sex, age, language, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, religious beliefs, educational level, professional skills, work experience, socio-economic background, marital status and/or career obligations. An employee’s family, carer and other responsibilities, and the need to balance these with work, also contribute to the diversity of our workforce. DFAT remains committed to actively promoting a positive work environment based on respect and will continue to implement and promote the department’s workplace diversity program.
The objectives of the workplace diversity program are:
- to promote awareness and understanding of workplace diversity principles;
- to use workplace diversity to help us undertake core business more effectively;
- to help employees to balance work, family and cultural responsibilities;
- to remove any employment barriers and provide workplace equity, including but not limited to: Indigenous Australians; people with disability; women; people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds;
- to support staff networks, including the Indigenous Employees Network, the Staff with Disability Network and the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) Network
There is strong senior level engagement and support for diversity in the department. The department’s Indigenous Taskforce is chaired by the Deputy Secretary (Corporate) and is attended by two Deputy Secretary level Indigenous Champions. The First Assistant Secretary (Corporate Management Division) is the current departmental Disability Champion.
The three pillars of the department’s workplace diversity program are the
In 2015 the department will renew all three of these strategic plans along with the Indigenous Recruitment and Career Development Strategy 2011-2015. An initiative to consider the number of women in senior leadership positions is also underway.
The department supports a range of employee networks to help employees connect with others; share life experiences and perspectives; and advocate to the department on a range of diversity issues. These networks include the DFAT Families network, Indigenous Employees network, DFAT Disability Network, LGBTI staff network and the Association of Foreign Affairs and Trade employees.
Training is an important element of the workplace diversity program. Training and presentations are provided to State and Territory Office staff, employees on pre-posting training, Locally Engaged Staff and new employees to the department.
Staff secondments to work with Indigenous communities are supported through JAWUN and an MOU with Indigenous Community Volunteers.
Workplace diversity is also celebrated through a range of events, aimed at raising staff awareness. These include a focus on:
- women (to mark International Women's Day);
- Indigenous Australians (to mark National Reconciliation Week and National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC));
- people with disability (to mark International Day of People with Disability) and
- cultural and linguistic diversity (to mark Harmony Day).