Indigenous SES Network
The Indigenous SES Network was established to contribute to progressing Indigenous employment and retention initiatives.
The network is guided by a Terms of Reference and has committed to:
- Come together as an Indigenous SES cohort to offer cultural and strategic advice to the Secretaries Equality and Diversity Council
- Play a collective role in bringing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives to Executive Management
- Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to forge strong careers in the APS - this includes the Indigenous SES network members, and
- Work together to identify the specific areas where we can maximise our influence for the benefit of our peoples and the APS
The Indigenous SES Network is committed to driving meaningful change and providing guidance to Secretaries on issues affecting Indigenous Australians. Members of the SES Network provide a stewardship role that contributes to greater representation, retention and progression for Indigenous Australians in the Australian Public Service.
SES Steering committee
A steering committee has been established to drive the priorities of the Indigenous SES Network. The steering committee meets quarterly with additional meetings (face-to-face or via teleconference) every 6-8 weeks, as necessary. Members of the Indigenous SES Network are invited to nominate for the steering committee.
SES Steering committee membership
Professor Tom Calma AO
Kungarakan Elder and Iwidja tribal group member (Northern Territory)
Professor Calma has had an illustrious 38-year APS career and is one of two externally appointed members of the Secretaries' Equality and Diversity Council. He remains a consultant to the Department of Health as National Coordinator for the Australian Government’s Tackling Indigenous Smoking program and has led the fight against tobacco use in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and is currently serving his third term as University of Canberra Chancellor.
Professor Calma has championed the rights, responsibilities and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples for more than 45 years and was recently appointed co-chair of the Senior Advisory Group responsible for co-designing a model to provide a voice for Indigenous Australians to government.
He was the Australian Human Rights Commission’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner from 2004-2010 and Race Discrimination Commissioner 2004-2009. His 2005 Social Justice Report called for the life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to be closed within a generation, and was instrumental in establishing the Close the Gap campaign in 2006.
Wendy Ah Chin
National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)
Wendy’s government career has spanned 25 years, with roles at both the state and federal level. She is the Branch Manager, Reform Unit within NIAA and moved from the Northern Territory to Canberra three years ago. Wendy has worked as an Assistant Secretary within the Australian Government Department of Health and State Manager for the Northern Territory. Prior to this Wendy worked as Executive Director, Office of Aboriginal Health Policy and Engagement for the NT Department of Health with the Northern Territory Government and as the Chief Executive of Yothu Yindi Foundation and Deputy CEO for the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health (now Lowitja Institute). Wendy has a health science degree and an Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA).
Group Manager - West & South Group
National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)
Bunaba person (Fitzroy Crossing)
Kevin joined the Australian Public Service as a Graduate Economist with the Department of Finance, then moved to the Department of Education and Employment where Kevin worked in iterations of the department. Kevin completed two years in the Western Australian public service. In 2018, Kevin became Deputy National Director (Delivery) at the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. Kevin was previously National State Office Liaison and Indigenous Leader at Department of Education and Training.
Assistant Secretary - Soft Power, Partnerships and Research Branch
Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)
Descendant of the Gangalu people (central Queensland)
Co Faculty Head of the “Understanding Australia” Faculty at the Australian Government’s Diplomatic Academy and member of the Reference Group for Australian cultural policy think tank “A New Approach” Damien joined the inaugural cohort of Atlantic Fellows for Social Equity in 2017. He was Australia’s Ambassador to Denmark, with non-resident accreditation to Norway and Iceland from May 2013-2017 and was the first Indigenous Australian to be appointed head of an overseas mission. He previously served overseas as Australia’s Deputy Ambassador to Germany (2010-2013) and at the Australian High Commission in Malaysia (2000-2003). Joining the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 1995, he holds a Graduate Diploma in Foreign Affairs and Trade from Monash University and a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws from the University of New South Wales. He was selected “Aboriginal Scholar of the Year” by the National NAIDOC Committee in 1993.
Assistant Secretary - Employer Mobilisation Branch
Department of Jobs and Small Business
Robert started work as an apprentice with a small country newspaper. After nine years, and realising his trade was to be disrupted by new technology, he resigned and enrolled in a full-time Bachelor of Arts degree determined to improve his career prospects. Robert joined the Australian Public Service when he graduated and has since developed leadership and program implementation skills from working across different levels of government and in the commercial environment of a Government Owned Corporation. Robert’s public sector experience entails delivery of a wide variety of economic and social programs. At times, it has involved implementing significant government reforms. In his current role, Robert leads a dispersed team across Australia engaging with employers, employer groups and stakeholders across government and the NGO sector to help address their recruitment and workforce development needs. Robert also has extensive practical experience in the Indigenous arena - he is the Department’s Indigenous Leader and an active member of the APS Indigenous SES network.
The Indigenous SES Network meets several times a year:
- 8 March 2019 - Network Meeting Communiqué - PDF 443.14 KB
- 14 May 2019 - Steering Committee Communiqué - PDF 123.96 KB
- 19 August 2019 - Steering Committee Communiqué - PDF 403 KB
- 20 November 2019 - Network Meeting Communiqué - PDF 372 KB
- The Indigenous SES Steering Committee will next meet in February 2020
Note: Dates are subject to change without notice