Affirmative measure for recruiting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians: A guide for applicants
What is the affirmative measure for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants?
This affirmative measure allows a particular job in the Australian Public Service (APS) to be open only to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander persons.
The measure is designed to address the under-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in the APS.
Use of this measure is consistent with the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 and our human rights obligations, including those set out in international conventions.
The aims of the affirmative measure are to:
- the right to equality and non-discrimination in employment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians
- that all individuals have the right to employment and that some groups need additional support to achieve this right
- the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians employed in the APS
- agencies to meet the objectives of the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy.
The affirmative measure is set out in legislation (Section 26 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016). It has recently been revised to allow agencies to use it for jobs that are short-term, irregular, or intermittent, as well as those that are ongoing or non-ongoing for more than 18 months.
What jobs may be covered by the affirmative measure?
If an agency has decided to apply the Indigenous employment affirmative measure to a vacancy, it will be clearly indicated in the job advertisement.
The affirmative measure can be applied to any ongoing (permanent), non-ongoing (temporary) or casual APS vacancy, regardless of the duties, including those at Senior Executive Service levels. It is not restricted to jobs requiring an understanding of issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The measure may be applied to individual vacancies or bulk rounds, such as graduate recruitment rounds.
Applying for jobs advertised under the affirmative measure
You can search for vacancies that have been advertised under the Indigenous employment affirmative measure on the APSjobs website.
Go to the APS Jobs Search page, and tick the 'Affirmative Measure - Indigenous' box on the right hand side of the screen.
A vacancy advertised under the affirmative measure will include the following notification:
Affirmative measure vacancy – Indigenous employment
The filling of this vacancy is intended to constitute an affirmative measure under Section 26 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016. This vacancy is open only to Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.
The affirmative measure may also be applied to vacancies where candidates are sourced through an agency's non-ongoing (temporary) employment register.
To apply for a job, you should follow the vacancy information provided by the agency and apply accordingly, as with any other APS job application.
As well as the information available on the APSjobs website, additional information, such as an applicant information pack, will usually be available on the agency's website. A nominated contact officer will be listed and it is a good idea to get in touch with them if you have any questions about the job or the recruitment process.
Prepare your application using the guidance provided in the advertisement and applicant information pack.
The Australian Public Service Commission's Indigenous Careers Portal has some very helpful advice for applicants. General guidance on how to increase your chances of winning a job can be found on the Australian Public Service Commission's Applying for jobs in the APS webpage.
Evidence of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status
For the purposes of the affirmative measure, an agency head must be satisfied that an applicant:
- of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent
- as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander; and
- accepted by their community as being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
To demonstrate eligibility for employment under this affirmative measure, applicants are required to provide evidence that they are an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person.
Depending on policies in place in a particular agency, applicants may not be required to provide evidence of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status unless they are shortlisted for further consideration, e.g. selected for interview. This means that you may not be required to provide evidence unnecessarily.
Suitable evidence of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status may include:
- letter signed by the Chairperson of an incorporated Indigenous organisation confirming that the applicant is recognised as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person, or
- confirmation of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent document executed by an Indigenous organisation.
Resources are available on the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies website to assist you.
If you are having any difficulty getting hold of your documentation, you should contact the agency advertising the job to discuss your situation and agree on a way forward.
There is ordinarily no obligation for an employee to share information about their Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander status. However, for the purpose of this affirmative measure, applicants will be required to confirm that they are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Australian in order to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility requirements.
Information collected about a person's racial or ethnic origin is regarded as 'sensitive information' for the purposes of the Privacy Act 1988 and your consent is required for that information to be collected or shared.
Applicants are encouraged to get in touch with the contact officer listed in the job advertisement.
29 June 2022