DFAT Reconciliation Action Plan 2016-19

30 May 2016

Acknowledgement

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia and recognises their contributions to the department's representation of Australia to the world.


Secretary's foreword

It gives me great pleasure to present the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's 2016-2019 Reconciliation Aciton Plan (RAP).

This is the department’s third RAP, but the first since we integrated our foreign and trade policy roles with our overseas development and international tourism responsibilities. The RAP was drawn together by our Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group, under the guidance of the department’s Indigenous Taskforce. Through close cooperation with the Indigenous Employees Network and Reconciliation Australia, the Working Group has crafted a RAP that builds strongly on the foundations laid down in our earlier Plans, providing a practical, cohesive and inclusive strategy for the next four years that reflects our culture and shared vision.

The reconciliation agenda underpins our business model, and is clearly articulated in our Strategic Framework and departmental Values Statement. Across the life of this RAP, the department will implement new partnerships and strategies to increase opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to access employment, economic, and career development opportunities.

Peter N Varghese AO, Secretary, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

We will strengthen the support we offer staff to increase their cultural competencies, creating more opportunities to develop and strengthen their capability to represent, advocate for and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures to the world. As well, we will look for innovative ways to collaborate more closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and support efforts to build stronger relationships, respect and trust between the wider Australian community and Australia’s First Peoples.

I encourage all staff to read this RAP carefully and reflect on how their own personal and professional contributions can strengthen outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. It is incumbent on us all to contribute to building better relationships between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, for the benefit of all Australians.

Peter N Varghese AO, Secretary
May 2016

Indigenous Champion

As Indigenous Champion for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, I am very pleased to commend to you our new Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). I congratulate our RAP Working group, the Indigenous Employees Network and the Indigenous Taskforce for their excellent work in bringing the Plan together, and I very much look forward to continuing to work with all of my departmental colleagues to bring this important document to life. While the department has worked hard to stretch its reconciliation footprint through its previous RAPs, we know that much still remains to be done to achieve reconciliation between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our undertaking through our new RAP to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and peoples through respect, opportunity and deepened relationships, demonstrates the department’s commitment to reconciliation.

Ewen McDonald

In pledging ourselves to practical action, our DFAT community looks forward to advancing opportunities to partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, and the people who represent them, to support a united Australia where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community can build relationships based on mutual respect, recognising the unique place that First Australians hold in our society.

Ewen McDonald, Indigenous Champion

A welcome from the Indigenous Employees Network

As a member of the DFAT’s Indigenous Employees Network, I welcome the Department’s ongoing support for reconciliation in Australia. The Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) is a clear articulation of the Department’s commitment to building more effective links with Indigenous Australia, using our unique place in the Australian Public Service to raise awareness of indigenous issues internationally and promote indigenous culture in the world. DFAT continues to create opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through its work with partners to influence international policy to advance the interests of indigenous peoples in the international community, delivering international programs that improve outcomes for indigenous peoples, encouraging Indigenous Australians to apply opportunities to engage in and develop people-to-people links with the international community and ensuring an inclusive workplace culture across the department.

Julie-Ann Guivarra

Julie-Ann Guivarra, Assistant Secretary, South East Asia Investment and Services Branch

Reconciliation Australia

Reconciliation Australia commends the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) on the completion of its third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

With both a domestic and international view to Australian affairs, the Department is uniquely placed to demonstrate respect for, and appreciation of, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures, including as a vehicle for celebrating these on the international stage.

In this, the Department demonstrates a strong commitment to partnership and collaborative relationships and a recognition of the value of reconciliation to Australia’s national interest.

Justin Mohamed

In this Stretch RAP, the Department demonstrates both leadership and commitment at the highest levels to bring about change for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. These key initiatives look to a range of initiatives that will grow cultural capability and investments in better and sustainable outcomes and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

In furthering its commitment to reconciliation, we look forward to seeing how the RAP will work in tandem with the Indigenous Peoples Strategy, launched in August 2015, to advance the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians as well as the world’s Indigenous peoples.

Reconciliation Australia’s role as the national leader for reconciliation is to inspire social change and foster relationships, respect and trust between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians.

The success of the Department’s performance will be seen in the degree to which its activities, the accessibility of its services and the attitudes of its staff contribute to increased awareness and participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, both at home and abroad.

In this, we wish DFAT well in its continued reconciliation journey.

Justin Mohamed
Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia

Our vision for reconciliation

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia and acknowledges their continuing spiritual, cultural, social and economic connection to Australia’s lands and waters. Our vision is for practical reconciliation, where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the wider Australian community build relationships based on mutual respect and recognition of the unique place that First Australians hold in our society. We look to the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as an instrument to advance the rights of indigenous peoples around the world, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to provide a framework for articulating their right to cultural identity, community, economic empowerment and self-determination.

The primary drivers of our RAP are to: support greater opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; develop the cultural competency of our staff; consolidate our reconciliation footprint; and ensure we remain competent to represent, advocate for and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures nationally and to the world.

Our business

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides foreign, trade and development policy advice to government. We work with other government agencies to ensure that Australia’s pursuit of its global, regional and bilateral interests is coordinated effectively. Our purpose is to help make Australia stronger, safer and more prosperous by promoting and protecting our interests internationally and contributing to global stability and economic growth.

The department’s staff, in Canberra, State, Territory and Passport Offices, at the Torres Strait Treaty Liaison Office and in our diplomatic missions around the world, work in partnership with government and non-government organisations, business and community groups in Australia and overseas, to lead the Government’s efforts to:

  • advance Australia’s security interests internationally
  • open up new markets and create conditions for increased trade and investment to strengthen our economy and create jobs
  • lift living standards and reduce poverty in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond
  • shape the regional and international environment and strengthen global cooperation in ways that advance Australia’s interests
  • project a positive and contemporary image of Australia as a destination for business, investment, tourism and study, and
  • provide high-quality passport and consular services to Australian citizens.

As at 30 May 2016, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade employed approximately 3,800 people in, or posted from Australia, and in excess of 3,900 Locally Engaged Staff in around 100 locations around the world. Details of our offices in Australia and abroad may be found on the department’s website.

At publication of this RAP, 68 employees, or approximately 1.9 per cent, formally identified to the department as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan

This is the department’s first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) since the integration of the government’s overseas development and international tourism functions into Foreign Affairs and Trade in late 2013. The RAP consolidates the “Stretch RAP” achievements of the former AusAID and DFAT RAPs within the new integrated departmental culture, to ensure continued progress in building on our strong track record of actions to promote and support reconciliation.

The department’s commitment to reconciliation is embedded in our key governance documents – the Strategic Framework 2015-2019 and the DFAT Values Statement. The Strategic Framework 2015-2019 sets out the department’s purpose, what we do to achieve the outcomes expected of us by the Government and Australian community and our key priorities over the next four years. It also identifies the main assets the department brings to bear in carrying out its work and how we will conduct ourselves in doing so – our core values. These values and associated behaviours are described in more detail in the DFAT Values Statement. These key documents inform activities across the breadth of the department’s core functions and reinforce to all our staff that reconciliation is relevant to everyone’s business. Copies of the Strategic Framework and DFAT Values Statement may be found on the department’s website.

The primary drivers of our RAP are to: support greater opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; develop the cultural competency of our staff; consolidate our reconciliation footprint; and ensure we remain competent to represent, advocate for and promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures nationally and to the world.

In April 2015, the department sought expressions of interest from all staff to form a Working Group to develop the new RAP. More than twenty employees responded, seeking appointment to the Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group (RWG). This core group included nine employees who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including two representatives nominated by the Indigenous Employees Network (IEN) to represent the interests of all IEN members. The RWG comprised staff ranging from the training band to the Senior Executive Service and representing a broad range of Divisions and work areas.

Steered by the Assistant Secretary, Staff Welfare and Development Branch, the RWG will remain active over the life of the RAP. The RWG is supported by the department’s Deputy Secretary-level Indigenous Champion and reports periodically to the Indigenous Taskforce, which will continue to monitor and drive RAP implementation. To maintain its membership in an organisation with a high degree of staff mobility, the RWG will recruit other staff, drawn from across the breadth of the department’s functions, to sustain its depth and breadth.

Through the life of the RAP, our RWG members will act as RAP Ambassadors, responsible for socialising the RAP across the department and outwards to our partners. As well, the RWG will maintain and monitor achievements under the RAP Implementation Matrix, a live companion document available internally to departmental staff, which lists commitments made by individual work areas to embed implementation of reconciliation into their everyday work programs. During 2016, the role of the department’s RAP Ambassadors will be expanded to include supporting the socialisation and implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Strategy (2015-2019), which works in parallel with the RAP in guiding departmental approaches to reconciliation and issues relating to the world’s indigenous peoples, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

The founding membership of the RWG was:

SES

    • Ms Julianne Cowley (Chair April to May 2015)
    • Ms Nerrilee Cuthbertson (Chair, June 2015 onwards)
    • Mr Jonathan Kenna

    EL2

    • Ms Jill Collins
    • Ms Jennifer Noble
    • Ms Wanda Oram-Miles
    • Mr Kevin Playford

    APS6-EL1

    • Ms Jude Boyland
    • Mr Aaron Carroll
    • Mr Damien Coke
    • Ms Jennifer Gregory
    • Mr Bradley Hinton

    APS 1-5

    • Ms Henni Arup
    • Mr Luke Brown
    • Ms Maegan Clarkson
    • Mr Hamish Fejo
    • Mr Danny Foulkes
    • Mr Daniel Fisher
    • Ms Kate Kinsela
    • Mr Rick Macourt
    • Ms Deanna Simpson
    • Ms Natarshia Soo
    • Ms Nicole Steinweg
    • Mr Aaron Watson

    IEN Nominees

    • Ms Jacqui Herbert (APS6)
    • Ms Denica Kyle (Trainee)

    Secretariat

    • Ms Suzy Wilson-Uilelea (EL1)

The Indigenous Taskforce

The Indigenous Taskforce (ITF) is the only forum of its kind across the Australian Public Service and was developed through a partnership between the department's Indigenous Employees Network (IEN) and the Departmental Executive.

Formed in 2004, the ITF is chaired by the Deputy Secretary overseeing the department’s corporate management functions. It provides a formal consultation mechanism for the Indigenous Employees Network (IEN), supported by the SES Indigenous Champion and IEN-nominated senior- level Advocates, to participate in strategic decision-making and make recommendations on departmental policies and programs impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. The purpose of the ITF is to ensure the voices of the department’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees are strongly heard in shaping the department’s strategic responses to these matters.

The ITF oversees implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Strategy (IPS), the Reconciliation Action Plan and the department’s Indigenous Recruitment and Career Development Strategy. It meets thrice annually and forms part of the departmental governance framework, reporting periodically to the Departmental Executive and to the Workplace Relations Committee, as required.

Regular members of the ITF include:

  • the Deputy Secretary with responsibility for Corporate Management Group (as Chair)
  • the Deputy Secretary Departmental Indigenous Champion/s
  • Division Head sponsors of Indigenous Peoples Strategy pillars [when reporting on pillars]
  • the Coordinator of the Indigenous Employees Network (IEN) and other members of the IEN
  • the IEN-nominated Indigenous Advocates (at least two senior level employees, nominated by the IEN as departmental champions)
  • representation from Corporate Management Group, including the Chief People Officer, Assistant Secretaries responsible for Staff Welfare and Development Branch, Staffing Branch as well as relevant Section Heads*
  • representation from policy areas with responsibility for issues of strategic relevance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, including the Assistant Secretaries of Public Diplomacy Branch and Human Rights Branch, as well as relevant Section Heads.*

* For these two membership groups, the level of representation at meetings is determined with regard to the relevant agenda items to be discussed.

Our achievements

The department’s RAP aligns closely with our Indigenous Recruitment and Career Development Strategy (IRCDS), which was renewed in tandem with the RAP. The IRCDS is linked to the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy, and frames the way the department recruits, retains, develops and supports the career aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. Additional information on the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy may be found on the Australian Public Service Commission website.

Our RAP also supports the Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy, designed to stimulate Indigenous entrepreneurship and business development by providing Indigenous businesses with greater access to Commonwealth contracting opportunities. Further information on the Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy may be found on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s website.

A major achievement of the department’s reconciliation work to date has been the development of the Indigenous Peoples Strategy 2015-2019 (the IPS). The IPS is a five-year strategy aligning the department’s work on issues affecting the world’s indigenous peoples, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, across the breadth of its foreign policy, aid, trade and corporate objectives. The IPS provides a framework for DFAT to work with its partners to advance and promote the wellbeing of indigenous peoples around the world, in line with Australia’s national interest.

Through the IPS, DFAT will endeavor to achieve positive results and continual improvement in its work on issues affecting the world’s indigenous peoples. DFAT will assess and share lessons from its work, including as an active participant in the important international dialogue about issues affecting indigenous peoples, both in Australia and overseas. The IPS is accompanied by a guidance note for development activities to ensure that DFAT-funded overseas development activities, wherever relevant, will strive to improve outcomes for indigenous peoples and bring into account international best-practice.

More information on the Indigenous Peoples Strategy 2015-2019 and its component parts may be found on the department’s website.

Other areas where the department is working strongly to support reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as part of our core business functions are highlighted below.

Core departmental functions already supporting the Reconciliation Agenda

  • marking and celebrating, at home and in our missions overseas, events across the year of particular significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including NAIDOC and National Reconciliation Week, International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples and the Anniversary of the National Apology to Australia’s Indigenous Peoples
  • adhering to established principles on terminology and cultural protocols when working on international Indigenous issues or when engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • a commitment to the employment and career development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, to deepen the department’s attractiveness as an employer of choice, increasing the diversity of our workforce and strengthening our ability to effectively represent Australia to the world
  • consultation and dialogue on matters of importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees through the work of the Indigenous Taskforce and the Indigenous Employees Network
  • collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, peak bodies and government policy agencies through representation and promotion of international indigenous issues in bilateral and multilateral fora
  • remaining mindful of and working to protect the intellectual property and other rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in concluding international instruments, including free trade agreements
  • implementation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy, including the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy, the Indigenous Peoples Strategy and the Indigenous Procurement Policy
  • focussing on staff skills development and professional growth through: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness Training; International Skills Development (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples) Program; and secondments to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community organisations under the Jawun and Indigenous Community Volunteers programs
  • collaboration, supported by Memoranda of Understanding, with the University of Canberra and Griffith University, to support academic exchange, joint activities and recruitment pathways, as well as bursaries and scholarships for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian tertiary students
  • applying new protocols for confirmation of identity documents for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicant passport applications with particular needs
  • targeted inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in policy initiatives such as the Australian Volunteers for International Development and the New Colombo Plan, and
  • actively promoting and increasing international appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples cultural, scientific and sporting activities through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Diplomacy Program.

Relationships

A key role for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is to pursue Australia’s national interest and to represent all Australians to the world, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. To do this effectively, our staff must foster and maintain strong and respectful cross-cultural relationships. As reconciliation partners, our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities shape our reconciliation journey. By working to deepen these relationships through strengthened collaboration and communication, the department will be able to more effectively contribute to reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and wider Australia, for the benefit of all Australians.

Focus area

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will develop and strengthen its relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through deepened consultation, partnership, cooperation and communication. As part of this, the department will collaborate closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and Commonwealth partners to explore how the department’s learnings, including in the overseas environment, can contribute to improved outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

Action Target Reporting
Timeline
Responsibility
RAP Working Group (RWG), chaired by the RAP Champion, remains active, advising work areas, monitoring progress against RAP targets and reporting on RAP activity to the Indigenous Taskforce. Oversee the development, endorsement and launch of the RAP, guided by Assistant Secretary Staff Welfare  and Development Branch, as RAP Champion. May, 2016 Assistant Secretary, Staff Welfare and Development Branch
RAP Working Group meets at least  four times annually to monitor RAP implementation and reports periodically, with suggestions for review, to the Indigenous Taskforce. December, 2016 Assistant Secretary, Staff Welfare and Development Branch
RAP Working Group meets at least  four times annually to monitor RAP implementation and reports periodically, with suggestions for review, to the Indigenous Taskforce. Annually by end March, June September, December Chair, RAP Working Group
RAP Working Group members include their RAP Ambassador role in performance and development plans. April, annually Chair, RAP Working Group
Indigenous Taskforce, chaired at Deputy Secretary-level monitors RAP implementation, including the work of the RAP Working Group. The Indigenous Taskforce considers and provides guidance on aspects of RAP implementation at each meeting, including an annual review of the RAP. March, July and November annually Assistant Secretary, Staff Welfare and Development Branch
Deputy Secretary-level Indigenous Champion advocates for the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff at internal and external opportunities. Continuous appointment of a Deputy Secretary-level Indigenous Champion September, annually Secretary
SES Indigenous Champion participates in APS Indigenous Champions Network events and meetings. September, annually Indigenous Champion
SES Indigenous Champion participates in Indigenous Taskforce meetings, which serve as the primary mechanism for consultation and engagement with the Indigenous Employees Network. March, July and November annually Indigenous Champion
Maintain and leverage mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations to support positive outcomes. Through consultation with stakeholders, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, develop, implement and review the department’s protocols for engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. December, 2016 Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Diplomacy Program
Work closely with the Torres Strait Regional Authority and engage annually with Traditional Inhabitants of the Torres Strait, on matters of relevance to the Torres Strait Treaty. December, annually Torres Strait Treaty Liaison Officer
Consult annually with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community groups and representative bodies in relation to domestic, multilateral and bilateral negotiations and advocacy on international indigenous issues. December, annually Director, Human Rights and Indigenous Issues Section
Commit to establishing two more formal two-way partnerships to build capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and/or communities relevant to our sphere of influence. December, 2018 Chair, RAP Working Group
Support staff participation In secondments to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations through partnerships with relevant coordinators, to build two-way partnerships to build capacity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations. Support two to four annual  secondment opportunities for staff  to community organisations. July and December Annually Indigenous HR Adviser
Participate where possible, in steering committees or review processes for the partnering organisations to support continued strong governance. December 2018 Indigenous HR Adviser
Support the Indigenous Employees Network to develop strategic engagements with departmental decision-makers. Indigenous Employees Network office- holders include network duties in performance and development plans. April, annually IEN Coordinator
All new employees identifying as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are offered membership and provided with information on the Indigenous Employees Network. December, 2017 Divisional Coordinators
Funding allocated for annual Indigenous Employees Network planning day. July, annually Assistant Secretary, Staff Welfare  and Development Branch
Indigenous Employees Network members form part of the permanent membership of the Indigenous Taskforce. March, July and November annually Chair, ITF Secretariat
Raise internal and external awareness of our RAP to promote reconciliation across our core business functions. Develop,  implement and review a RAP communications strategy to communicate our RAP to all internal and external stakeholders. October 2016 Chair, RAP Working Group
Promote reconciliation through ongoing active engagement with all stakeholders, including through monitoring and responding to Divisional commitments in the RAP Implementation Matrix. December, 2018 Chair, RAP Working Group
Report RAP outcomes to the Indigenous Taskforce. March, annually Chair, RAP Working Group
Our senior leaders are engaged in the delivery of RAP outcomes, including through activities to implement the Indigenous Peoples Strategy and participation in the Indigenous Taskforce and RAP Working Group. March, July and November annually Secretary
Work closely with policy agencies in Australia to ensure departmental expertise and experience, including in the overseas environment, contributes to government efforts to build awareness and understanding and develop mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Strengthen collaboration with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet through: December, annually Manager, Indigenous Peoples Strategy
  • inclusion in the department’s Community of Practice on Indigenous issues
December, annually Development Division Heads
  • dialogue on development best practice
  Assistant Secretary, Staffing  Branch
  • exploring opportunities to support the Recognise campaign.
  Manager, Indigenous Peoples Strategy
Celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW) to strengthen and maintain relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and their colleagues. Organise at least  five NRW events annually, which will include one NRW event in Canberra and one at the Torres Strait Treaty Liaison Office on Thursday Island, and encourage all posts to prioritise National Reconciliation Week in their public diplomacy strategy. 27 May – 3 June, annually Indigenous HR Adviser; State Office Managers; Post Public Diplomacy Managers
Encourage staff  and senior leaders to participate in external events to recognise and celebrate National Reconciliation Week.   Secretary
Invite an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community member/s to connect and share experiences.   Secretary
Support an external National Reconciliation Week event that could include in kind support and partnering with community organisations.   Secretary
Departmental Executive supports opportunities for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff  to participate in local National Reconciliation Week events.   Secretary
Encourage all Australian  offices  and overseas missions to fly the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags, where possible and to celebrate and promote National Reconciliation Week.   Secretary
Register all NRW events via Reconciliation Australia’s NRW website.   Indigenous HR Adviser; State Office Managers; Post Public Diplomacy Managers

Respect

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is committed to maintaining diverse, inclusive and culturally safe workplaces in Australia and at its overseas missions. Promoting reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is an essential part of this commitment. To be an effective reconciliation partner, the department must demonstrate respect for and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures. Only through committing ourselves to inclusion and respect can we effectively perform our roles as public officials and representatives of Australia to the world.

Focus area

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to develop the cultural capability of all staff through opportunities to grow understanding of, and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. By embedding reconciliation action in our strategic planning, performance development and organisational values documents, and through promoting genuine engagement in culturally appropriate activities and practices, the department will foster respect across our workplaces, as well as within the broader community.

Action Target Reporting Timeline Responsibility
Increase knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements. Develop and review a suite of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness and cultural capability training for all staff, to increase knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories and achievements and to support the department’s advocacy and representation functions. December, 2018 Assistant Secretary, Staffing  Branch
All staff  complete compulsory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural awareness eLearning as part of professional development, with regular refreshers completed at least every three years. December, 2016 Director, Learning and Development Section
100 staff  undertake face to face cultural learning activities, including participation in communities of practice, seminars and community outreach. December, 2018 Director, Learning and Development Section
10 staff  undertake cultural immersion learning activities. September, annually Director, Learning and Development Section
Include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander policy training in pre-departure briefings for Head of Mission-designates and posted Senior Executive Staff. July, 2017 Director, HOM/SES Unit
Develop and roll out an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural capability training package for all supervisors. July, 2017 Director, Learning and Development Section
Promote Reconciliation Australia’s Share Our Pride online tool to all staff. April, 2017 Indigenous HR Adviser
Embed  a reconciliation Key Performance Indicator in all staff  personal development agreements based on relationships, respect and opportunities. June, 2016 Director, Mentoring, Performance and Diversity Section
Support all RAP Working Group members to undertake intensive cultural learning activities. July, 2017 Indigenous HR Adviser
Strengthen reporting on cultural competency training outcomes, including through updates to the Indigenous Taskforce. July, annually Chair, RAP Working Group
Recognise individual staff contributions to reconciliation within the department. Develop,  implement and evaluate an annual Award for Reconciliation, presented to a staff  member or team who applies and promotes the principles of reconciliation in their workplace and makes a substantial impact on internal and external reconciliation. May, annually from 2017 Chair, Indigenous Task Force
Demonstrate respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities by embedding cultural protocols as part of the way our organisation functions. Develop,  implement, embed and communicate a cultural protocols document for Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Country. December, 2016 Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Diplomacy Program
Invite a local Traditional Custodian to offer  a Welcome to Country at significant DFAT-organised events and meetings hosted in Australia (including, but not limited to: policy launches; major international meetings; departmental milestones and celebrations), as outlined in our cultural protocols document. December, 2016 Division Heads, State and Territory Office Directors
Offer an Acknowledgement of Country at DFAT-organised events and meetings hosted in Australia (including but not limited to: major Departmental forums; DFAT-funded project/opening ceremonies; and training courses where more than 50 people are expected to attend). December, 2016 Division Heads, State and Territory Office Directors
Maintain and review a list of key contacts for organising a Welcome to Country. December, 2016 Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Diplomacy Program
Display an Acknowledgment of Country plaque in the public area of all DFAT office buildings in Australia. June, 2017 Chief of Protocol
Display Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags permanently in the public area of all DFAT buildings in Australia and overseas posts. December, 2016 Chief of Protocol
Display Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander table flags in all meeting rooms in Australia. June, 2017 Chief of Protocol
Develop and make available to all staff a hand-sized postcard on cultural protocols and “Acknowledgment of Country’. June, 2017 Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Diplomacy Program
Develop and make available on the intranet for all staff use, an official signature block containing an Acknowledgement of Country. June, 2017 Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Diplomacy Program
Celebrate NAIDOC Week and other days of cultural significance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Provide opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to engage with culture and community during NAIDOC Week.
Mark NAIDOC Week by holding  at least three events in Canberra, one event in each State and Territory Office and at the Torres Strait Treaty Liaison Office and encourage all posts to prioritise NAIDOC in their public diplomacy strategy. July, Annually Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Diplomacy Program; Indigenous HR Adviser; State Office Managers; Post Public Diplomacy Manager
Encourage all staff  to participate in at least one internal or external event during NAIDOC Week. July, Annually Secretary
Review Human Resources policies and procedures to ensure there are no barriers to staff  participating in NAIDOC Week. December, 2017 Director, Management, Conduct and Corporate Strategy Section
Departmental Executive supports opportunities for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff  to participate in local NAIDOC Week events. July, Annually Secretary
Deliver and support cultural programs and activities overseas, including major Australian country promotions, touring exhibitions, lectures and artist's exchanges. Tour and promote internationally at least one Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander exhibition, performance or artist each year. Annually Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Diplomacy Program
Update and promote information available on the intranet and Public Diplomacy SharePoint site on Australia’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures, targeted to overseas activities and as resource materials for the department’s overseas posts. March, annually Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Public Diplomacy Program
Encourage overseas posts to look for culturally appropriate ways to mark local days of significance to indigenous peoples in their countries of accreditation. September, annually Post Public Diplomacy Managers
Celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (8 August) with partners in Canberra, State and Territory Offices and overseas posts. August, annually Manager, Indigenous Peoples Strategy

Opportunity

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade remains committed to supporting programs targeted to increasing employment opportunities, encouraging aspirations to higher education and strengthening economic participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. Reconciliation is best served when all Australians have equity of access to social, economic and cultural support. By providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with opportunities to make Australia stronger, safer and more prosperous, the department will be better able to promote and protect Australian interests internationally and contribute to global stability and economic growth for all Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Focus area

To attract and retain talented and skilled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff through targeted employment strategies; to provide ongoing career development opportunities; to support the aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to higher education and training; and to engage more closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses through procurement processes, as part of wider Commonwealth initiatives to close the gap in opportunities available to First Australians.

Action Target Reporting Timeline Responsibility
Increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment, retention and development. Meet or exceed the department’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment target of 2.5 per cent of total employees. (At the time of publication, 68 staff  (or almost 1.9 percent) formally identified to the department as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples.) 30 June, 2018 Secretary
Implement, review and update the department’s Indigenous Recruitment and Career Development Strategy. June, 2016 Assistant Secretary, Staffing  Branch
Through the Indigenous Taskforce, engage with existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff  on employment strategies. March, July and November annually Chair Indigenous Taskforce
Continue to advertise all job vacancies in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander media. July, annually Director, Recruitment Section
Through the Indigenous Taskforce, engage with existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff  on strategies to increase internal and external employment mobility initiatives. December, 2016 Assistant Secretary, Staffing Branch
Develop,  implement and review an Indigenous special measures guide for staffing team leaders and divisions. December, 2016 Director, Recruitment Section
Maintain at least  five flexible Indigenous Identified positions utilising, if necessary, special measures recruitment available under the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s Directions. July, annually Assistant Secretary, Staffing Branch
Continuous placement of at-level eligible employees in Indigenous Identified Positions across Divisions, including:
  • APS 6 - EL1 - Public Diplomacy Branch; APS 6- EL1 - Human Rights and Indigenous Issues Section
  • APS6 – EL1 – Papua New Guinea and Fiji Branch
  • BB2 – Torres Strait Treaty Liaison Office, Thursday Island, Papua New Guinea and Fiji Branch, and
  • APS 6 – EL1 – Indigenous Human Resources Adviser, Corporate Management Group.
July, annually Assistant Secretary, Staffing  Branch
Promote DFAT as an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by marketing to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander units at tertiary institutions. Develop, disburse and evaluate promotional material to attract Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants for entry level programs and general recruitment. July, annually Director, Recruitment Section
Engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander units within tertiary institutions. July, annually Director, Recruitment Section
Engage existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in recruitment outreach activities. July, annually Director, Recruitment Section
Increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander supplier diversity. Implement, review and update our Indigenous Procurement Policy implementation strategy, including a mandatory set-aside for all procurements delivered in defined remote areas valued at $10,000 - $200,000 (GST inclusive) for new procurements conducted in Australia. December 2018 Assistant Secretary, Contracting Services Branch
Meet Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy targets for goods and services, including to develop commercial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses.
  • 2015-16: 0.5 per cent (13 contracts)
  • 2016-17: 1.5 per cent (approx. 39)
  • 2017-2018: 2 per cent (approx. 52)
  • 2018-2019: 2.5 per cent (approx. 65).
July, annually Secretary
As part  of our membership with Supply Nation and in line with our commitments under the Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy, identify Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses for supply of goods and services. July, annually Assistant Secretary, Contracting Services Branch
Develop a communications strategy to promote procurement opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses. December, 2016 Assistant Secretary, Contracting Services Branch
Actively promote the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Volunteers for International Development program, or equivalent. Develop a strategy to maintain or increase the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the Australian Volunteers for International Development (or equivalent Commonwealth overseas volunteering) program. December, 2017 Assistant Secretary, NGO and Volunteers Branch
Market and profile overseas volunteering opportunities through Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-owned and/or focused media outlets. December, annually Assistant Secretary, NGO and Volunteers Branch
Develop a pool of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contact officers (internal and from other agencies) to be included on selection advisory panels for employment vacancies. Establish and maintain a pool of contact officers for recruitment Selection Advisory panels. June, 2017 Director, Recruitment Section
Establish relationships with Commonwealth agencies to support DFAT Selection Advisory panel capacity. June, 2017 Director, Recruitment Section
Implement strategies to optimise MOUs with Griffith University and University of Canberra and investigate expanding reach into additional tertiary institutions, to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples' tertiary education attainment. Annual disbursement of tertiary scholarships, including the Roni Ellis Indigenous Study Award and the Griffith Bursary. April, August, annually Indigenous HR Adviser
Strengthen mutually  beneficial partnerships and cooperation on events, seminars, research and other MOU activities. December, 2017 RAP Ambassadors
Consideration of an MOU with an additional university. December, 2018 Secretary
Facilitate mentoring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. Offer all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees access to a mentor. Successfully match all requesting employees with mentors. June, 2016 Manager, Mentoring Program
Facilitate access for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander staff to internal and external mentoring programs. June, 2016 Manager, Mentoring Program
Through the Indigenous Taskforce,  seek feedback from Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait staff  about the program. March, annually Manager, Mentoring Program

Tracking and progress reporting

Action Target Reporting Timeline Responsibility
Report RAP achievements, challenges and learnings to Reconciliation Australia for inclusion in the RAP Impact Measurement Report. Complete and submit the RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire to Reconciliation Australia. 30 September, annually Indigenous HR Advisor
Investigate participation in the RAP Barometer. Biennial, 2016 and 2018 Indigenous HR Advisor
Develop and implement systems and capability needed to track, measure and report on RAP activities. December, 2017 Indigenous HR Advisor
Report RAP achievements, challenges and learnings externally. Feature RAP achievements, challenges and learnings in the Annual Report. December, annually Indigenous HR Advisor
Review, refresh and update RAP Review, refresh and update RAP based on learnings, challenges and achievements. June, 2018 RAP Working Group
Send draft RAP to Reconciliation Australia for formal feedback and endorsement. January, 2019 Indigenous HR Adviser
Report progress to the Indigenous Taskforce and/or departmental executive. Internal report detailing programs, targets, outcomes from RAP. July and November, Annually Indigenous HR Adviser

Last Updated: 25 May 2016