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Aboriginal Employment Reaches Significant Milestone in NT


11 July 2016 at 9:30 am
Wendy Williams
Not for Profit Diversity Council Australia is calling on states to follow the example set by the Northern Territory after it was announced Aboriginal employment in the public sector has reached a significant milestone.

Wendy Williams | 11 July 2016 at 9:30 am


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Aboriginal Employment Reaches Significant Milestone in NT
11 July 2016 at 9:30 am

Not for Profit Diversity Council Australia is calling on states to follow the example set by the Northern Territory after it was announced Aboriginal employment in the public sector has reached a significant milestone.

Indigenous Flag

Chief Minister and Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Adam Giles announced during NAIDOC Week that more than 10 per cent of territory public servants are now Aboriginal.

Diversity Council Australia CEO, Lisa Annese, said it was a “huge step forward”.

“The idea is that under the principle of self determination that individual Indigenous Australians take control of their own lives and create policy and outcomes that are good for them,” Annese told Pro Bono Australia News.

“So I think that is a brilliant step forward and I would encourage other states to try and follow the same.”

She said there were lots of barriers facing Indigenous Australians in the workforce that needed to be overcome.

“I think it ranges from inequity before you get there, before you even have the opportunity, to things like discrimination and exclusions once you are there, so it is a very complicated multitude of factors.

“But I think to know that it can be successful, we should do what we can to learn from the Northern Territory example.

“Because if you are trying to reflect the population that you serving then obviously you need to be genuine about that and particularly, as in this case of Indigenous Australians, we don’t need people speaking on their behalf we need their voices clearly and presently in the public policy debate, that’s the only way you can get good outcomes.”

Annese said there was no reason we couldn’t see this same level of workplace diversity across the country.

“I think that if people are willing and keen and able to do it and there is the right infrastructure in place, it may take longer but it is definitely something we can do,” she said.

It comes after Adam Giles announced progress was being made in the Northern Territory towards meeting job targets laid out under the government’s Aboriginal Affairs strategy.

“When I became Chief Minister, I made the commitment to drive change, bridge the economic gap between non-Aboriginal and Aboriginal people and facilitate economic development in Aboriginal communities,” Giles said.

“People were sceptical about our ability to reach these goals, which were deliberately ambitious because there needed to be real and significant change.

“Our goal is to double public sector Aboriginal employment to 16 per cent of the workforce, from 1,800 to 3,600 employees by 2020.

“In just a short time, the number of Aboriginal employees has increased to 10.07 per cent.”

This represents more than 250 new Aboriginal employees working in the Northern Territory public sector.

Giles said an additional nine trainees has also graduated from the NTPS Indigenous Employment Program on 1 July.

He said the approach was based on consultation.

“Our Aboriginal Affairs strategy has been developed in collaboration with Aboriginal people; it’s a new approach based on genuine consultation,” he said.

“We have initiated Aboriginal employment requirements for all government infrastructure contracts above $500,000 (Indigenous Employment Provisional Sum).

“There have been 1,400 Aboriginal employment outcomes on all Department of Infrastructure civil and construction contracts over $500,000 since October 2014.

“With 994 individual Aboriginal people employed on these contracts, compared with only 40 before this initiative was put in place, it is showing that a large workforce of Aboriginal are filling well paid, skilled and sustainable jobs with many people moving from contract to contract.

“These positive results in both the public and private sector show that, together, we are driving real change and the Northern Territory is a better place to be.”


Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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