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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Supporting Indigenous Leadership in the Public Sector

Supporting Indigenous Leadership in the Public Sector

Indigenous Affairs
Thursday, 21 November 2019

National Indigenous Australians Agency

Twenty-three Indigenous leaders from the public services across Australia and New Zealand pose for a picture in front of the Shine Dome in Canberra, Australia

‘What actions can we take to promote Indigenous leadership in a changing public sector?’

Last week, 23 Indigenous leaders from the public services across Australia and New Zealand met to discuss this proposition, coming together in Canberra for the third annual Senior Indigenous Public Servant Forum.

The forum, hosted by the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), focused on the changes underway in both the Australian and New Zealand public sectors, policy priorities across jurisdictions, leadership mobility and opportunities to increase Indigenous representation in the public sector.

Deputy CEO, Professor Ian Anderson, opened the forum by reflecting on what is needed to transform the public sector, and how governments can form better partnerships with Indigenous Australia.

“Indigenous public servants are critical to influencing the system that underpins public service practice and to reforming the relationships between government and the people,” Professor Anderson said.

“We need a reformation of public service practice that actually makes real the idea of working in partnership, with institutions and practices that provide opportunities for people outside of government to make a meaningful contribution to the decision-making of government.”

NIAA’s Chief Executive, Ray Griggs, joined the group to share an update on the work of the Agency and highlighted the important role that NIAA plays in coordinating the cross-jurisdictional work to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Mr Griggs invited the group to meet the challenge of changing the way Government bureaucracy works to bring the perspective and aspirations of Indigenous people to the fore of decision making.

“We can’t shy away from the fact that working together in genuine partnership is hard – it demands that public servants at all levels need to approach things differently,” Mr Griggs said.

“But we have to change the system so that we can facilitate authentic and accessible discussions and collectively deliver real and lasting improvements for Indigenous people.”

“Our plan is to make NIAA a proving ground for this. We need to ensure that the Indigenous perspective and experience is embedded into policy making at all levels and from the very beginning to help make sure we get our policies and programs right.”

Find out more about ANZSOG and its Indigenous Engagement programs.