Employee networks

Last updated: 30 Sep 2015

This page is: current

Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy

Networking and peer support is important to the wellbeing and morale of many Indigenous employees. Establishing and/or providing access to an Indigenous network is a positive way for an agency to show support to Indigenous employees. Employees may also find a mentor who is right for them by attending network events.

Current initiatives

Australian Public Service Commission

The Australian Public Service Commission supports Indigenous APS employees and their managers by:

  • coordinating quarterly APS Indigenous Employment HR Forums for HR managers responsible for Indigenous employment for their agency to share 'what works' and explore emerging issues and trends affecting Indigenous employment in the APS

How the APSC can assist other agencies

  • The APSC can assist employees from other government agencies who are not based in major centres to join a local Indigenous employee network if there is one in operation. For more information, please email indigenousliaisonofficer@apsc.gov.au.

Department of Education and Training

The Department of Education and Training has an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network, which is open to all employees who self-identify as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.

The department conducts annual face-to-face workshops for its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to identify issues and priority actions for the following year.

How Education can assist other agencies

Education can share information on its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network and annual workshops. For more information, please email Diversity@education.gov.au.

Department of Defence

The Department of Defence's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network (DATSIN) is an informal body comprising Indigenous and non-Indigenous members of the Australian Defence Force and the Australian Public Service.

The DATSIN participates in increasing representation within Defence and acts as an advocate for Defence at public activities and within Defence on Indigenous matters as they relate to Indigenous Australians.

The support provided by DATSIN members includes:

  • Representation at local community events, including conducting presentations, assisting in the conduct of activities and being available to discuss Indigenous matters and Defence's contribution to Indigenous Australians
  • Assist in various programs run by Defence, which can include assisting with the planning, coordination and delivery of training programs and information sessions
  • Provide mentoring and support to Indigenous members and employees, particularly new entrants
  • Participate in interview panels as an Indigenous Defence representative
  • Attend public events as an Indigenous Defence representative to engage with the local community and promote the extensive career paths available to Indigenous people wanting careers in Defence.

National DATSIN conference

Defence convenes an annual DATSIN conference. The conference, attended by Indigenous and non-Indigenous ADF members and APS employees, provides an opportunity to network with fellow DATSIN members, be updated on current programs and contribute to the development of Indigenous initiatives in Defence.

Regional DATSIN

Defence is in the process of establishing a regional DATSIN network to provide interested members with the opportunity to meet more regularly on an informal basis to network, discuss issues and support one another. It is anticipated that the regional network will be established in major Defence sites throughout Australia.

The Social Network of Graduates

The Social Network of Graduates (SNOG) provides support for all APS graduates who have recently arrived in Canberra. Defence has been working with SNOG to expand its membership to include Indigenous trainees.

Defence can assist other agencies by:

  • Sharing its employee network model with other agencies
  • Facilitating staff from other government agencies that are not based in major centres to join local chapters of the network.

Department of Social Services

The Department of Social Services has established an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network that provides support to staff and advice to management, through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff National Committee, on issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.

The Network provides an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to:  

  • provide quality and timely advice to management on issues that affect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees
  • provide advice regarding recruitment, retention, and career development of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees
  • advocate the views and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees
  • provide guidance and support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees
  • facilitate, in partnership with the department, cultural awareness activities to improve the knowledge of non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees about significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander events.

Network members also actively participate in 'Yarning Circles', which are designed to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff at the local level discuss local issues.

How DSS can assist other agencies:

  • DSS can provide advice to staff from other government agencies wishing to establish local Indigenous employee networks. For more information, please email IndigenousWorkforce@dss.gov.au.

Australian Taxation Office

The Australian Taxation Office has developed local and national Indigenous employee networks that utilise formal and informal conferences and meetings to disseminate information and provide encouragement and support.

How the ATO can assist other agencies:

Department of Human Services

The Department of Human Services offers a National Indigenous Employees' Network (NIEN) which is open to all interested Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees. The network provides employees with peer support and an opportunity to shape the Department's work through the implementation of its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employees Plan.

DHS also facilitates local Indigenous Employee Networks around the country.

How DHS can assist other agencies

  • DHS can assist other departments in establishing their own local Indigenous Employee Networks.   
  • DHS will invite Indigenous staff from other government agencies to join its local Indigenous Employee Networks, where applicable.

For more information, please email GMPEOPLECAPABILITY@humanservices.gov.au.

Department of the Environment

The Department of the Environment's Indigenous Staff Network (ISN) meets regularly and aims to:

  • support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees working in the Department
  • share information and experiences between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in the department
  • inform the Department of trends or key issues identified through ISN business
  • promote cultural awareness and respect across the Department.

How Environment can assist other agencies:

  • Environment can facilitate the participation of Indigenous employees from small, similarly focused Commonwealth agencies in its Indigenous Staff Network. For more information, please email indigenous.development@environment.gov.au.

Attorney-General's Department

The Attorney-General's Department (AGD) supports the Indigenous Employee Network, a forum for Indigenous employees to support each other, share information and experiences, and promote cultural awareness and respect in the wider APS. The Indigenous Employee Network works in collaboration with People Strategy Branch to provide advice on policy within the Department.

How AGD can assist other agencies

AGD can:

  • share its employee network model with other agencies
  • provide contact details for the conveners of other Indigenous employee networks from both within the portfolio and across the APS
  • share Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples protocol guide

For more information, please email peoplestrategy@ag.gov.au.

Australian Federal Police

The AFP supports an internal Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Employee Network called the Malunggang Indigenous Officers Network (MION). The Network promotes diversity and inclusion by raising awareness and educating AFP employees on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander issues.

Initiatives undertaken by MION, in conjunction with the Workforce Diversity Team and the broader AFP include:

  • Acknowledgement of significant events such as NADIOC and Reconciliation week.
  • Social events, including a wide range of recreational activities.

MION members also attend the Directions Program Traineeship Orientation Course and provide regular updates at monthly Trainee meetings.

How the AFP can assist other agencies

  • The AFP will provide other government agencies with access to information relating to MION and MION initiatives, and will collaborate with other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employee networks across the Commonwealth.

For more information email: MION-Executive@afp.gov.au

Commonwealth agencies can subscribe to the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy GovDex site for more information about these initiatives. Email diversity@apsc.gov.au to subscribe.