Share Our Stories - Reconciliation Action Plan 2015-16

Last updated: 13 Jul 2015

This page is: current

Artwork

 Artwork - description follows

‘Imbala Dunba Dunba’ Dance of the Butterfly

Peter Savage

This piece depicts the Imbala mating dance (Dunba Dunba) of the Ulysses Butterfly.

It is a spiritual ‘shakaleg’ style of dance the Rainforest tribes of North Queensland perform.

Imbala also serves as a defence mechanism in confusing predators which will give the male a better chance to find his partner and fertilize her eggs.

This cycle of life sees the caterpillars rest amongst the pink blooms of the Euodia tree only to take flight after their beautiful transformation to flutter the Imbala once again.

Our vision for reconciliation

As one of the central agencies, our sphere of influence extends beyond our own agency and across the Australian Public Service. Our vision for reconciliation is to have a Service that recognises and values the culture of the First Australians and includes an influential number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ranks of the profession.

Introduction by the Australian Public Service Commissioner

I am very pleased to be introducing the Australian Public Service Commission’s third Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Our RAP is very much part of the core business of the Commission given our leadership role in working with APS agencies to strengthen the capability, and therefore the effectiveness, of APS agencies.

The Commission’s vision is to lead and shape a unified, high-performing APS. We have a key role in the development of employees, leaders and a performance culture across the APS. Central to this role is helping to develop an APS culture that better supports workforce diversity and inclusion, including building a workforce that reflects the diversity of the broader community. This links directly to the APS Values of respecting all people, including their rights and their heritage, and our commitment to service. After all, how can we develop an APS that works collaboratively to achieve the best results for the Australian community if we fail to include, and take account of, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in that development?

Some of the important work we have been doing across the APS includes our work in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment and retention and in supporting the APS Diversity Council. The APS Indigenous Employment Strategy, which is led by the Commission, supports agencies to increase Indigenous representation through a range of targeted activities. For example, in 2013-14 we worked with 38 agencies to recruit 111 new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees through the APS Indigenous Pathways to Employment Program. Other initiatives include the APS Indigenous Employment Human Resources Forum and the Indigenous Liaison Officer Network.

Our recruitment and retention initiatives are supported through our evaluation and reporting activities. Activities such as the State of the Service Report enable us to monitor the progress of these initiatives across the APS (and allow other agencies to benchmark their own performance) and help to identify both areas of progress and priorities for further focus.

‘In 2013–14 we worked with 38 agencies to recruit 111 new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees through the APS Indigenous Pathways to Employment Program...’

The Commission partnered with agencies to establish the SES Indigenous Champions Network which reports to the APS Diversity Council. These senior-level champions advocate to raise cultural awareness, inclusion and Indigenous employment opportunities within their own agencies and across the APS as a whole.

The Commission also manages the Jawun Indigenous partnerships program. Jawun is a not-for-profit organisation that manages secondments from corporate and government partners to Indigenous organisations. Participants share their knowledge and expertise and enrich their own cultural awareness and personal and professional development. Personally I am very fortunate that as the APS Commissioner, I have the opportunity to be involved on the Board of Jawun.

This RAP, Share Our Stories, progresses the theme of our previous RAP, Hear My Story. It is an important part of our leadership role in reconciliation with the First Australians. It outlines the positive actions that we will take to recognise and value these peoples. It enables Commission staff to not just come on the journey but to be active participants in that journey.

It is pleasing that through our enthusiastic RAP working group led by its Chair, Melinda Kopilow and SES Champion, Ian Fitzgerald, all employees of the Commission have had the opportunity to be involved in the RAP’s development.

Stephen Sedgwick AO, FIPAA
Australian Public Service Commissioner

Our business

The Australian Public Service Commission is a central agency within the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio.

A staff of approximately 230 people, 6% of whom identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander, are led by the Australian Public Service Commissioner, Mr Stephen Sedgwick AO, FIPAA. The Commission also supports a second Statutory Office Holder, the Merit Protection Commissioner, Ms Annwyn Godwin.

Our vision is to lead and shape a unified, high-performing Australian Public Service (APS)

The statutory responsibilities of the Public Service Commissioner that support our vision are detailed in the Public Service Act 1999 and include:

  • evaluating the extent to which agencies incorporate and uphold the APS Values
  • evaluating the adequacy of systems and procedures in agencies for ensuring compliance with the APS Code of Conduct
  • promoting the APS Values and Code of Conduct
  • developing, promoting, reviewing and evaluating APS employment policies and practices
  • facilitating continuous improvement in people management throughout the APS
  • coordinating and supporting APS-wide training and career development
  • contributing to and fostering leadership in the APS
  • providing advice and assistance on public service matters to agencies on request.

Commission business areas that connect strongly with our vision for Reconciliation are:

  • the APS Pathways to Employment Program (APS career opportunities for Indigenous Australians)
  • the Indigenous Employment Strategy 2012–16
  • State of the Service Series Report: 2012 Indigenous Census; (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander APS Employees census reports were previously compiled in 2005 and 2009)
  • APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy
  • the Jawun Indigenous APS Community Secondment Program
  • APS Induction
  • Senior Executive Service (SES) Induction.

Further information can be found at www.apsc.gov.au.

Our RAP

The Commission’s commitment in formally supporting Reconciliation began with our first RAP in 2007. This RAP was aspirational and largely driven by our Corporate Group. Our second RAP, Hear My Story (2012–2014) had a stronger vision and an enthusiastic Working Group which led an active program of speakers, visits and opportunities to engage with and listen to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander experiences, histories and viewpoints. In these two RAPs, there was a total of 39 action items and we have achieved and exceeded many of these, learning valuable lessons along the way. One valuable lesson has been the importance of connection—all groups within the Commission are represented in, and therefore connected to, the RAP Working Group; the Senior Executives within the Commission are connected to Reconciliation by the involvement and commitment of the Australian Public Service Commissioner and his SES Champion. This connection has resulted in the Commission as an organisation and individuals within the Commission reaching out to the community and increasing cultural understanding; truly journeying toward the ‘Knowing—Doing— Being’ of Cultural Capability.

This, the Commission’s third RAP, forms an integral part of our journey toward Cultural Capability. Through the ‘Innovate’ RAP, we will continue to raise internal awareness about our commitment to reconciliation by promoting the RAP to staff and providing opportunities to engage with Reconciliation activities.

The development of this ‘Innovate’ RAP was led by the Commission’s RAP Working Group in consultation with our employees. Representatives of the Working Group attended eight Group meetings and listened to ideas from each Group, collating them into a document that formed the basis of this RAP.

*All organisations seeking endorsement of a RAP are asked by Reconciliation Australia to commit to one of four types of RAPs that best suit their organisation—Innovate, Reflect, Stretch or Elevate.

The RAP Working Group

A document does not bring about reconciliation—people do. The Working Group is committed to making our RAP a living document and seeing through its implementation.

Ian Fitzgerald, Chief Human Capital Officer is the Commission’s Senior Executive Service (SES) Indigenous Champion and is a member of the APS Indigenous Champion Network. The Working Group, chaired by Melinda Kopilow, involves representatives from all groups of the Commission. The Working Group meets formally at least twice a year and communicates regularly on an informal basis to progress discrete projects.

  • Ian Fitzgerald, SES Champion
  • Rhonda Woodward, Indigenous Liaison Officer
  • Melinda Kopilow, Chair
  • Tony Murray, Communications
  • Barry Jenkins
  • Tony Watson
  • Hamish Alexander
  • Heather Coates
  • Gillian Little
  • Kelly Marks
  • Ellyse Paton
  • Anthony Rummery
  • Alana Walsh
  • Miara Watson
  • With thanks to previous members, including:
  • Patrick Palmer
  • Isi Unikowski
  • Jad King
  • Thushanthee Wickeramasekera

What is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Capability and what does it mean for the Commission?

‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is diverse and thriving. Tapping into this multiplicity of experience and understanding through a lens of cultural competence will reward all Australians.’
Russell Taylor, Principal, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

To be culturally capable the APS must demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and matters that impact them.

The application of this knowledge will lead to more relevant, inclusive and evidence-based policy and the achievement of better outcomes for the nation as a whole. With partners across the APS, including Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), the Commission is developing an APS-wide Indigenous Cultural Capability Framework which the Diversity Council will be asked to endorse. Models used within the Framework align with the APS Leadership and Core Skills Strategy which the Secretaries Board has approved and covers three capability elements: Knowing, Doing and Being (see figure below). The Commission will lead the adoption and implementation of the final Framework.

Venn diagram - The Culturally capable framework

As an agency, we have had many partners on our journey to date and we would like to take this opportunity to thank:

  • Matilda House, Ngambri- Ngunnuwal Elder for providing ‘Welcome to Country’ at many APSC events and more particularly for sharing her stories with a group of us at ‘the Kitchen’
  • Wally and Tyronne Bell for the Aboriginal Heritage walks
  • Russell Taylor and Craig Leon from AIATSIS for sharing their RAP story and learnings with us, and taking us along on their journey
  • Samantha Palmer, for her passion and drive while the SES Indigenous Champions Network was being set up
  • Kathryn Campbell CSC, Secretary of the Department of Human Services, the Indigenous Champions Network sponsor and representative on the APS Diversity Council
  • Kerrie Tim, Special Advisor—Indigenous Engagement, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Relationships

The Australian Public Service Commission recognises the importance of, and will work towards, building and maintaining respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to enable us to better understand their needs, particularly when developing APS policy, and to encourage and assist their participation in the APS workforce.

 
Action Responsibility Timeline Key measures of success
1.The RAP Working Group (RWG) continues to actively monitor RAP development, including implementation of actions, tracking progress and reporting. SES Champion and RAP Working Group Chair 30 September 2015 & 2016 RAP Working Group oversees the development, endorsement and launch of the RAP.
RAP Working Group Chair 30 January 2015 & 2016 Develop an implementation paper that details the activities behind the RAP and identifies individuals responsible.
Director, Communications team 02 January 2015 RAP published on APSC website and intranet.
RAP Working Group Chair 30 April and 30 August 2015 & 2016 Meet at least twice per year to monitor and report on RAP implementation.
RAP Working Group Chair 28 February 2015 & 2016 Communicate activities and updates of progress with the Working Group and engage with Commission employees via email throughout the year.
SES Champion, RAP Working Group Chair and Working Group July–December 2016 The current RAP covers the years 2015 & 2016. The Working Group will be developing the next RAP in the second half of 2016.
2. Celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW) by providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and other employees to share knowledge, insights, ideas and experiences. SES Champion and RAP Working Group Chair 27 May–3 June 2015 & 2016

Organise at least one internal NRW event each year.

Encourage all employees to participate in at least one community activity during NRW.

Invite local community members as guest speakers to APSC events.

Host a seminar series on the theme of National Reconciliation Week.

Sponsor a local community event in NRW.

Contact Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders within the ACT Community to discuss mutually-beneficial opportunities.

3. Develop an annual calendar of events of Commission activities. RAP Working Group Chair 28 February 2015 & 2016

In consultation with Commission employees, develop, publish and regularly update an annual calendar of events for Commission staff to engage in.

Advertise the calendar of events within the Commission.

Share the calendar of events with the Small Agencies Forum.

Calendar of events to include:

Movies, documentaries and presentations from TED.com (TED talks)

Annual lunch with an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Elder

Share our Stories—extend invitations for speakers to come to the Commission

Advertise within the Commission Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community activities (with the goal of making staff aware of activities and encouraging support of these activities). 

4. Support an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisation and / or charity.

RAP Working Group Chair

5 July–11 July 2015

3 July–9 July 2016

 

Continue work with ACT Youth Justice i.e. fund raising for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people to assist community participation.

Support Indigenous reading program.

Make opportunities known to and encourage staff to volunteer with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations and / or charity of their choice. Promote Indigenous Community Volunteers—http://www.icv.com.au/ to staff.

5. APSC building relationships across the APS. SES Champion 30 June 2015 Develop a partnership agreement with Elevate RAP partner AIATSIS with 6 Strategic Priorities that will help the Commission develop its Cultural Capability.
Director, HR November 2015 & 2016 Encourage organisations within the Small Agency HR Forums (SAF) to develop RAPs; for example, arrange for one RAP session on the SAF agenda per year.
RAP Working Group Chair 30 August 2015 & 2016 Identify opportunities to share lessons learned both formally and informally with other RAP partners.
SES Champion 30 August 2015 & 2016 Advance ideas from the SES Indigenous Champions Network. 

Respect

Consistent with the APS Values, our staff are aware of, respect, acknowledge and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. This will assist us to build relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and provide culturally appropriate strategic human resource policy, training and advice across the Australian Public Service.

 
Action Responsibility Timeline Key measures of success
6. Engage employees in understanding the protocols around Acknowledgement of Country and Welcome to Country ceremonies to ensure there is shared meaning behind the ceremonies. Communications Team 30 August 2015 & 2016 Review and if required update the Commission protocol document annually.
Australian Government Leadership Network Team & APSC events co-ordinator 1 November 2015 & 2016 Routinely open significant events with Welcome to Country from a Traditional Owner.
Secretariat, EL2 Network
co-ordinator
November meeting 2015 & 2016 Continue to promote respectful acknowledgement at all major meetings and events, and review this at Directors meetings once a year. (The Chair of the November meeting will be responsible for speaking to this point).
Director, HR Review in February 2015 & 2016 Include instructions for using APSC’s Welcome to Country and Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners protocols in induction training.
RAP Working Group Chair, Communications Team, APSC Property Manager 30 November 2016 Commission meeting rooms to have ‘stories’ befitting their names that honour Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.
7. Develop a Framework to become a more Culturally Capable organisation. SES Indigenous Champion 30 September 2015 Develop a Cultural Capability Framework available internally and for use across the Australian Public Service, recognising that Cultural Capability is an ongoing journey of learning and development.
8. Engage employees in cultural learning to increase understanding and appreciation of different cultural backgrounds in order to lay the foundation for other RAP actions to be achieved. Director, HR Upon engagement New employees are asked to complete a Cultural Awareness e-Learning module on commencing employment.
Director, Human Capital Research and Analysis 30 May 2015 Establish a baseline for previous participation in Cultural Awareness training.
Director, HR October 2016 Ensure all staff members complete online training by October 2016 and complete an annual refresher thereafter.
RAP Working Group, Chair February 2015 & 2016 All Commission employees are invited to participate in the RAP Working Group Calendar of Events.
Group Managers 30 July 2015 & 2016 As Commission Workplans are developed Group Managers and Directors will refer to the RAP and RAP Implementation Plan for linkages and projects.
Director, HR July 2015 & 2016 Ensure the Commission’s performance management scheme includes the requirement to behave in a way that upholds the APS Values, particularly respecting the rights and heritage of all people.
RAP Working Group Chair 30 August 2015 & 2016 Recognise people (outside of the RAP Working Group) who make outstanding contributions to implementing the RAP or other cultural capability–building initiative by starting an APSC RAP Award and celebrating this with a Share Our Stories event. 
9. Celebrate National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week by providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and other employees to share knowledge, insights, ideas and experiences. RAP Working Group Chair 5 July–11 July 2015

Organise at least one internal NAIDOC week event.

Offer all Commission Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees the opportunity to attend the Aboriginal Hostels Luncheon.

Encourage all employees to participate in at least one community activity during NAIDOC week.

Director, APS Recruitment Solutions 3 July–9 July 2016 Promote NAIDOC week on the APSJobs website.

Opportunities

Providing employment opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enables the Commission to develop a greater understanding of their peoples and cultures, while building the diversity of our organisation.

 
Action Responsibility Timeline Key measures of success
10. Investigate opportunities within the APSC to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment opportunities. Director, HR & Director, Indigenous Employment 30 November 2016 Use our internal expertise more fully (e.g. Review of the Human Resource procedures and policies by the Diversity and Indigenous Policy team to ensure any barriers to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment can be addressed).
Director, HR & Director, Indigenous Employment 30 November 2016 Engage with existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to consult on employment strategies, including professional development.
Director, HR 30 November 2015 & 2016 Continue work experience program: 
  • Partner with any existing government work experience programs targeted at Indigenous students.
  • Partner with community organisations to host work experience placements each year.
Director, HR & Director, Indigenous Employment 30 November 2015 & 2016 Annual presentations to the Commission Management Committee and the Executive Level 2 to improve understanding of the use of the Affirmative Measure—Indigenous Employment.
Director, Indigenous Employment 30 June 2015 & 2016 Continue to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff networks, specifically by organising Annual Indigenous Employee Forums.
Director, HR Ongoing—review of each vacancy Advertise all suitable vacancies in Indigenous media.
Director, HR May 2015 & 2016 Levels of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment within the Australian Public Service Commission currently exceed the 2.6 percent target set for APS agencies in 2015. We want to continue to build on this and will request funding annually in the APSC budget for offering employment or placement opportunities for two Indigenous Graduates.
11. Investigate opportunities to increase supplier diversity within the APSC. RAP Working Group, Chair; Director, Finance 30 November 2015 Educate staff about using Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.Invite Supply nation to speak to Small Agencies Forum.
Director, International, Director, Regional & Director Finance 30 June 2015 & 16 Continue to use Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers i.e. Stationery / Catering / Speaker gifts / Gift exchange with international delegations.
SES Indigenous Champion 30 June 2016 Develop at least one on-going commercial relationship with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business.
12. Continue to support the Senior Executive Service (SES) Indigenous Champions Network. SES Indigenous Champion 30 November 2015 & 2016 As co-originators and active participants in the SES Indigenous Network Champions, continue to identify and pursue activities at an APS level, particularly projects focused on:
  • strengthening regional involvement
  • increase in numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander SES.
13. Continue to demonstrate leadership through the Indigenous Employment Strategy 2012-2016 Australian Public Service Commissioner 30 November 2016 The APS is committed to the principles of equity and diversity and to ensuring the public service workforce is representative of the broader Australian community. This commitment is enshrined in the Public Service Act 1999 and its subordinate legislation. The key initiatives of the current strategy are:
  • Attraction and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees across the APS
  • Retention and career development
  • PS Indigenous Employment and HR Forum
  • APS Indigenous cultural capability Framework
  • APS-wide entry and exit survey
  • Indigenous Liaison Officers
  • Census of Indigenous APS Employees
  • Support of the work of the Diversity Council
  • Identify other opportunities to demonstrate leadership across the APS.
14. Report achievements, challenges and learnings to Reconciliation Australia for inclusion in the Impact Measurement Report. RAP Working Group 30 September 2015-2016 Complete and submit the RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire to Reconciliation Australia 30 September each year.Distribute a progress report to staff annually. 
15. Report annually to the Commission Management Committee (CMC). RAP Working Group 30 September 2015-2016 Schedule at least one RAP presentation to CMC.
16. SES Champion to report quarterly to the Australian Public Service Commission. SES Indigenous Champion February, May, August, December The SES Indigenous Champion meets with the Commissioner on a weekly basis and provides a mix of verbal and written updates on progress within the Commission, across the APS and with other partners.
 

Contact details:

 

Ian Fitzgerald, Chief Human Capital Officer and SES Indigenous Champion
Tel: 02 6202 3705
E: Ian.Fitzgerald@apsc.gov.au

 

Melinda Kopilow, Executive Assistant
Tel: 02 6202 3505
E: Melinda.Kopilow@apsc.gov.au

 

Lunch at ‘The Kitchen’

On Thursday 12 September 2013, a group from the Australian Public Service Commission, Department of Health, The Commonwealth Ombudsman’s Office and Habitat Personnel joined local Ngambri-Ngunnawal Elder Aunty Matilda House for a picnic lunch on a sunny hilltop in the Tuggeranong valley. Aunty Matilda picked the venue, a place she calls ‘The Kitchen’, as a wonderful site for her to speak about Canberra and her connection to the land. The lunch was enjoyed by all who attended, so much so, that we have decided to make this an annual event.

‘I was privileged to be able to attend the lunch with Matilda House at Tuggeranong Hill. She is an amazing inspirational woman. I have been left with a new sense of pride in the history of the Canberra that extends well beyond the centenary celebrations; it has certainly given me a more fulsome understanding of the underlying meaning of our acknowledgement of country!’
Heather Coates, Remuneration Tribunal, Australian Public Service Commission.

Welcome to Country

Photo: Matilda HouseAs a local Elder, Matilda House has performed numerous welcoming ceremonies (including events for the Australian Public Service Commission) notably, the first Welcome to Country to be held at the Australian Parliament at the opening of the 42nd Parliament of Australia.

Matilda House was born in 1945 on the Erambie (also spelt as Arambie) Aboriginal Reserve at Cowra, New South Wales (NSW), and raised in her grandfather’s house at Hollywood Aboriginal Reserve in Yass, NSW. She belongs to the Ngambri-Ngunnawal family group, which has been formally recognised by the Australian Capital Territory Government as having historical connections to the Canberra region and surrounds, particularly the region around Namadgi National Park. Source: National Library

National Reconciliation Week 2014 at the Commission

Bark painting. Description follows.

NARRITJIN MAYMURU

Mangalili clan, about 1914-1982
Guwak ga Marrnu (Night-Bird and Possum), 1948
collected by the American-Australian Scientific Expedition to Arnhem Land,
collected at Yirrkala, 100 x 46cm
Photo: National Museum of Australia

Australia’s old masters: Aboriginal painters from Arnhem Land

As part of National Reconciliation Week, the Ethics Group organised a lunchtime visit to the exhibition, Old Masters: Australia’s Great Bark Artists. The exhibition, hosted by the National Museum of Australia, showcased the work of Australia’s old masters: Aboriginal painters from Arnhem Land who carried one of the oldest continuing traditions of art into the modern era.

The exhibition included 122 works from the museum’s bark painting collection (the largest in the world) celebrating the genius and art of 40 master bark painters.

Contributed by Karin Fisher, Ethics Group, Australian Public Service Commission


We visited the exhibition of the Old Masters one lunchtime. I was fascinated by the intricacy of some of the works that, to me, reflected the strong connection between the artist and the subject and told a story from the artist’s perspective. It reminded me that different people can look at the same thing and see it quite differently—perhaps influenced by situation, culture and environment. Something I keep in mind in my role of assisting APS employees work through ethical issues. I was also interested in the different representations of the Rainbow Serpent across the three regions of Arnhem Land. I am familiar with the serpent being represented as a snake, however there were several representations of it as a crocodile or with a crocodile head. A worthwhile visit to see an ancient art form beautifully displayed!

Contributed by Anne Walters, Ethics Group, Australian Public Service Commission

 

National Reconciliation Week and the ACT Youth Justice Project

On Wednesday 28 May 2014, the Commission hosted an afternoon tea to mark National Reconciliation Week. In the first part of the event, the Commissioner spoke briefly about Sorry Day, the significance of National Reconciliation Week, and the key dates of 27 May (the anniversary of the successful 1967 constitutional referendum) and 3 June (the date in 1992 of the High Court’s landmark decision on Mabo).

In the second part, special guests, Operations Manager for Youth Justice Case Management and Program and Services Manager at the Bimberi Youth Justice Centre, gave us an update on funds raised through an APSC/ACT Youth Justice project initiated through the RAP Working Group (supported through chocolate sales and the raffle of NAIDOC week footy shirts).

The afternoon tea was very much in keeping with our Hear My Story RAP plan. We were told the moving story of ‘Bart’, a troubled and disadvantaged young man, who has been supported by Youth Justice and for whom our funds helped provide a first, much-valued possession (an XBox) to reward and recognise his journey to date and his pursuit of positive activities.

Other stories reinforced how a relatively small amount of money can make a big difference with simple purchases such as ‘My Way’ bus tickets and clothing vouchers, providing some independence and dignity in these young peoples’ lives. The afternoon tea was a highly appropriate reminder of action we can take to help close the gap.

We were presented with two beautiful paintings from young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander painters at Bimberi—one for permanent display and another that was raffled to support ongoing RAP initiatives, raising a further $474.10 for the project.

Artwork. Description follows.

A gift from Bimberi Youth Justice Centre hanging in the Executive area of the Commission.

Artwork. Description follows.

This picture was raffled to raise money for Bimberi Youth Justice Centre.

Contributed by Heather Coates, Remuneration Tribunal Secretariat, Australian Public Service Commission

Canberra’s public servants battle for NAIDOC Week honours

On a cold and wet Canberra Wednesday…

Touch football once again returned to Canberra during NAIDOC Week. On a cold and wet Canberra Wednesday, over 300 people from 24 Australian Public Service (APS) agencies took part in the annual NAIDOC Week Touch Football Competition. The event, now in its twelfth year, recognises our country’s diversity, promoting understanding and respect among Indigenous and non-Indigenous APS employees.

Over 80 games of football were contested throughout the day, with the closely fought Trophy Final seeing the Department of Defence (pictured) defeating last year’s winners, the Australian Sports Commission, with the score of five touchdowns to four.

The Cup Final was won by the Australian Research Council who defeated the Department of Finance: 5–3.

The Plate Final was won by the Department of Employment who defeated the Royal Australian Mint: 5–2.

Australian government agencies have a proud history of organising and taking part in NAIDOC activities across Australia and one of the key NAIDOC Week events in Canberra is the Touch Football Competition.

The event is organised by the Australian Public Service Commission and the Department of Education, in partnership with Touch Football ACT.

  

Defence Touch football team APSC Touch football team
The Defence and APSC teams

Contributed by Will Cooper, Employment Policy and Participation Group, Australian Public Service Commission

JAWUN Secondments

Joy Clarke

‘It was a life-changing experience for me and, as a result, I feel that I have a broader world view, greater empathy and a deeper understanding of the issues facing Indigenous Australians.’

My Jawun secondment was in North East Arnhem Land, between Gunyangarra and Darwin. I worked with the Yothu Yindi Foundation (YYF) assisting with preparation for the Garma Festival and the YYF Garma Panel Artwork cataloguing and stocktake project. Support for the Garma Festival included preparation of advertising collateral, such as Garma Youth Forum posters and the Garma Festival ‘Call for Musicians’ poster, as well as developing a comprehensive list of private schools throughout Australia for raising awareness of YYF and the Garma Festival. I also formatted and edited a range of Garma documents, such as the Garma Exhibitors’ information pack, site induction booklet, Garma Terms and Conditions Guides; obtained quotes for printing Festival posters and programs; reviewed the entire YYF website for link breakages; and compiled lists of online event calendars and marketing opportunities.

Photo: Arnhem road Youth forum poster

The second project involved stocktaking and cataloguing the Garma Panel artwork. I consolidated all panel records from 2003 to 2009, established sequential filing of unframed prints, organised the material by cataloguing all of the unframed prints, and cross-referenced with the artist database. I examined all framed artworks for condition and deterioration, and cleaned and decluttered the store room so that the framed Garma Panel artworks could be clearly identified and displayed.

In between the work tasks, I also learned a lot about the intricacies and complexities of Yolngu culture and the impacts of government policies on the people ‘on the ground’.

Contributed by Joy Clarke, Ministerial and Parliamentary Support, Australian Public Service Commission

Deborah Meehan

My placement, in early 2012, was with the Kimberley Group Training (KGT) Organisation in Kununurra, East Kimberley, Western Australia. KGT is a small organisation, employing about 25 staff across two locations. The organisation optimises opportunities for unemployed people, (Indigenous, non-Indigenous and disadvantaged groups), to access training and employment in the Kimberley. KGT clients numbered about 200 apprentices and trainees, 75% of whom were Indigenous. My project was to develop a comprehensive Human Resource Policy and Procedure system for KGT, encompassing new induction and succession plans and, if time permitted, align Job Descriptions, Selection Criteria, Staff Training Plans and Performance Reviews through revision of systems and templates. The objective was achieved and significant progress made in revising performance agreement and other templates. I also enjoyed learning about Aboriginal art and developed a taste for the art of the Kimberley region, purchasing several pieces. I was particularly fortunate to meet the artist of several of the works I purchased.

Deborah with artwork Staff photo

Contributed by Deborah Meehan, Client Engagement, Australian Public Service Commission

Peter Anderson

‘The Jawun experience is unique. It gives the participant a special opportunity to get to know an Indigenous organisation’s business and their clients and make a contribution to their work. In doing so, there are multiple opportunities to learn about the challenges facing the communities they serve, and to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in positive ways.’

Group photo

I was honoured to be part of Jawun Group 42. My placement was with the Cape York Land Council. My task was to assist in the development of governance training for North Queensland corporations created under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006. I had the pleasure of meeting with and presenting to members of the Kuuku Ya’u Aboriginal Corporation in Lockhardt River. The Jawun experience is unique. It gives the participant a special opportunity to get to know an Indigenous organisation’s business and clients and make a contribution to their work. In doing so, there are multiple opportunities to learn about the challenges facing the communities they serve, and to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in positive ways. North Queensland is a beautiful part of Australia. I had fun four-wheel driving in very remote locations with a great group of people who were committed to doing their best in their allocated placements. Jawun is a great opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and who wishes to contribute to the work undertaken to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Contributed by Peter Anderson, Client Engagement, Australian Public Service Commission

 

Alana Walsh

I was honoured to be given the opportunity to participate in the Jawun Indigenous Secondment program in August 2013.

My secondment was to the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council situated, quite literally, on the shores of Botany Bay. I went primarily to work on the Council’s Community, Land and Business Plan. While I was there, I also contributed to the Council’s submission to the review of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act and was privileged to see, first hand, the significance of land rights for Aboriginal people. This experience sparked my interest in Aboriginal land rights and native title and served as a reminder that Australia still has a long way to go to right the injustices of the past.

‘While I was there I also contributed to the Council’s submission to the review of the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act and was privileged to see, first hand, the significance of land rights for Aboriginal people. This experience sparked my interest in Aboriginal land rights and native title and served as a reminder that Australia still has a long way to go to right the injustices of the past.’

I’d like to thank Chris Ingrey and the staff of the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and the Australian Public Service Commission for the opportunity to participate in the Jawun program. I’d also like to acknowledge the Bidjigal people and their ancestors as the traditional owners of the land in and around La Perouse, and pay my respects to elders past and present and to all members of the La Perouse community for welcoming me to their land.

Contributed by Alana Walsh, Employment Policy and Participation, Australian Public Service Commission

Aboriginal heritage walk

‘I was amazed to see how Wally and Tyronne could show me things I had never seen before in the landscape; the subtle influence of the Aboriginal custodians who lived there....’

Some of the Commission’s employees enjoyed a guided interpretive walk, led by Ngunnuwal custodians, focusing on Aboriginal cultural artefacts. They had the opportunity to see and touch cultural artefacts, learn how cultural assessments are done and even have a go at exploring for cultural artefacts themselves! Ngunnuwal guides, Wally and Tyronne Bell, explained the Aboriginal significance of the area within the broader landscape.

Photo from the walk Photo from the walk

For more information on the work of Wally and Tyronne Bell, visit www.thunderstone.net.au.

 

‘I really enjoyed the walk and found it most thought-provoking and interesting. I was amazed to see how Wally and Tyronne could show me things I had never seen before in the landscape; the subtle influence of the Aboriginal custodians who lived there. I think I will always be more conscious and respectful of my surroundings because of the information that Wally and Tyronne Bell shared with me. A heartfelt thanks to them both!’

Contributed by Melinda Kopilow, Australian Public Service Commission

NAIDOC Week: 6 July–13 July 2014

Commission staff participated in a number of events during NAIDOC Week 2014:

  • AIATSIS hosted its annual NAIDOC on the Peninsula on Sunday 6 July 2014.
    The day, which featured a free concert of national and local Indigenous musicians, kick-started local NAIDOC week celebrations across the region and celebrated the cultural heritage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their contributions to Australian society.
  • JAWUN workshorts on Monday 7 July
  • A TED talk on Tuesday 8 July
    The RAP Working Group  hosted a viewing of a TED talk by Anita Heiss - Anita is a contemporary Australian author. She is a Wiradjuri woman. She is an Indigenous Literacy Day Ambassador and an Adjunct Professor with Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning, UTS, amongst many other things.
  • NAIDOC Touch Football Carnival on Wednesday 9 July
  • Back to my Country - The Lorrkkon Ceremony for Gagudju Man (An AIATSIS Online Exhibition)
    On 25 March 2014, the descendants of Big Bill Neidjie gave to AIATSIS, for safe-keeping, the film footage of his final mortuary ceremony, held on his country in Kakadu National Park. AIATSIS is proud to hold this film for its owners. Welcome to this Online Exhibition which honours the life and work of Bill Neidjie for his people, his country and all Australians, and showcases some of the AIATSIS collections.
  • Utopia documentary
    The RAP Working Group  hosted a viewing of a Utopia (a documentary by John Pilger). The film was followed by a facilitated discussion led by Jan
    Anderson-Muir from the Strategic Centre for Leadership, Learning and Development.