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Message from the Commissioner

I am pleased to introduce the revised version of Building an Indigenous Employment StrategyA Starter Kit for Commonwealth Agencies (the Kit). The Kit was first developed in 2008 to assist in the development of Indigenous Employment Strategies across the Australian Public Service (APS), and has now been expanded to assist all Commonwealth
agencies. The Kit has been reviewed and updated by the Australian Public Service Commission in partnership with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations.

Improving employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians is now a responsibility for all agencies across the Commonwealth public sector.

The national agenda is clear:

  • Halve the gap in employment outcomes between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians by 2018.
  • Increase the representation of Indigenous Australians across the Commonwealth public sector to 2.7% by 2015.

In quantifiable terms, an extra 6000 Indigenous Australians need to be employed into the Commonwealth public sector to meet the 2015 target. The reality is that all agencies have to be more effective at attracting and recruiting Indigenous Australians, and providing rewarding career pathways to support
retention and development.

As we work towards the 2015 target, I encourage agencies not to see this as the end point, but rather as an ongoing process to improve Indigenous employment.

Indigenous employees play a key role in the public sector as they contribute not only to their own career goals, but to broader issues around helping to change perceptions of cultural diversity and respect. They also provide pathways into Indigenous communities and organisations, built from a deeper
understanding of culture and communication. It is these Indigenous Australians, who will help in Closing the Gap and making sustainable change.

In the 2009–10 State of the Service Report, 76% of Indigenous employees rated 'making a difference' as their top attraction attribute, compared to 66% of other employees. This indicates a good motivational fit to the ethos of public sector work. What we need to do as agencies, is match that by
better promoting ourselves in the recruitment market, and delivering rewarding and supportive careers.

Across the Commonwealth public sector, agencies are at different stages in addressing Indigenous employment issues. An Indigenous Employment Strategy is an important tool to confirm your agency's commitment, identify the areas to make improvements, and outline actions for moving forward. It is the
starting point to bring about the organisational change required to provide meaningful steps to improve Indigenous employment.

These approaches are essentially about building business capability and practising good people management, and I encourage you to continue working towards improving Indigenous employment outcomes in your agency.


Stephen Sedgwick

Australian Public Service Commissioner
October 2011