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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Relationships

Building and sustaining genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is central for NIAA to achieve our vision of being a reliable and trusted partner to Indigenous Australians. NIAA recognises that working in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enriches our advice to government, informs decision making, and contributes to better outcomes for Indigenous Australians. Central to this is the National Agreement on Closing the Gap which requires all parties to work in genuine partnership with Indigenous Australians in policy development, and program and service delivery. The National Agreement centres around 4 key Priority Reforms that will transform the way Australian governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Embedding these Priority Reforms is how we will change the way we work with Indigenous Australians and provide the foundation for future progress against the targets. Priority Reform Three – Transforming Government Organisations – commits the Australian Government to decreasing the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who have experiences of racism. This is foundational to everything we do at the NIAA and demonstrates our commitment to establish a culturally safe work environment.

Focus area: Building genuine partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations, and other key stakeholders to improve life outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

1. Establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and organisations.

Deliverable Timeline Responsibility
Meet with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and organisations to continuously improve guiding principles for engagement and partnerships. Ongoing – reported February, 2023, 2024 Lead: Deputy CEO - Operations and Delivery
Meet with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders and organisations to continuously improve the NIAA’s Cultural Protocols Guide for engagement. Ongoing – reported February 2023, 2024 Lead: Branch Manager - Culture & Heritage Branch

Support: Regional Managers

Review, update and implement an engagement plan to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders. November, 2022 Lead: Operations Performance and Change, Deputy CEO - Operations and Delivery

Support: Branch Manager - Culture & Heritage Branch, Branch Manager – Chief Operations Officer

Strengthen existing two-way partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and organisations, and build four new partnerships. Existing partnerships include:
  • The implementation of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.
  • The NIAA’s Empowered Communities initiative which involves Indigenous communities and governments working together to set priorities and improve services.
Ongoing – reported February 2023, 2024 Lead: Deputy CEO - Operations and Delivery and Deputy CEO Policy and Programs
Continue to promote the Place-Based Framework to support effective relationships between governments and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities throughout the NIAA, and across the Commonwealth and other key stakeholders. Ongoing – reported February, 2023, 2024 Lead: Director – Internal Communications
Embed the co-design framework and principles throughout the NIAA, and promote the co-design framework across the Commonwealth through the Indigenous Affairs Taskforce. The co-design framework strengthens engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities by ensuring shared decision-making and accountability for outcomes. Ongoing – reported February, 2023, 2024 Lead: Group Manager – Strategic Policy Group
Promote truth-telling through 12 panel and guest speaker events per year to inform policy and programs officers of critical barriers facing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities across all levels of Government. Ongoing – reported February, 2023, 2024 Lead: Director – Inclusion and Diversity

Support: Group Manager Strategic Policy Group

Add resources to NIAA’s footprints program (linked via NIAA’s intranet and Acorn (NIAA’s learning and development platform) which promote truth-telling and opportunities for staff to engage in discovery and understanding. For example, truth-telling initiatives and activities developed by State and Territory Governments, Non-Government Organisations, and local communities. Ongoing – reported February, 2023, 2024 Lead: Director – Inclusion and Diversity

2. Build relationships through celebrating National Reconciliation Week (NRW).

Deliverable Timeline Responsibility
Circulate Reconciliation Australia’s NRW resources and reconciliation materials to all staff. May, June, annually Lead: Director, Internal Communications

Support: All SES

Publish information on the NIAA intranet promoting at least 10 external NRW events, including community, school and sporting events. Encourage all NIAA staff to participate in external events to recognise and celebrate NRW as an opportunity to participate in reconciliation and grow their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, achievements and cultures. May, June, annually Lead: Chief Operating Officer

Support: All SES, Director – Internal Communications

NRW events:
  • Host at least one all staff NRW event across the NIAA, which all NIAA staff can engage in (either in person or through remote participation).
  • Organise a minimum of 11 NRW events across the NIAA’s regional presence, with at least one event within each Region.
  • Register the NRW events via Reconciliation Australia’s National Reconciliation Week website.
May, June, annually Lead: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network

Support: Director Diversity & Inclusion

Support: Branch Manager – Culture & Heritage, Director, Internal Communications,

RAP Working Group members to participate in two external NRW events, such as community, school or sporting events. May, June, annually RAPWG Co-chairs

3. Promote reconciliation through our sphere of influence.

Deliverable Timeline Responsibility
Implement strategies to engage all staff to drive reconciliation outcomes through the NIAA Footprints Program. July, annually Lead: Chief People Officer
Implement strategies to positively influence our external stakeholders to drive reconciliation outcomes through the NIAA’s Stakeholder Engagement Strategy. July, annually Lead: Group Manager – Operational Performance
Create four ‘critical friend’ relationships with other Australian Public Service agencies to share and learn from each other on our RAP journeys and promote reconciliation. January annually Lead: Chief Operating Officer; Branch Manager – Culture & Heritage
Use the NIAA’s online presence (social media and websites) and media opportunities to engage the Australian community in reconciliation by promoting good news stories and media articles that showcase the strength, histories and outcomes achieved by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. March, June, September, December - annually Lead: Externally managed by Branch Manager – PM&C Communications (shared service with NIAA)

Support: Branch Manager – Strategic Implementation and Standardisation

Display the NIAA’s commitment to, and the importance of, reconciliation and the RAP program internally through our communications materials, and refer funded organisations to Reconciliation Australia to seek further advice and support on their own reconciliation journeys. Ongoing – reported April, annually (internal) Director – Internal Communications, (external) Director – PM&C Communications
Utilise the NIAA’s online communication platforms to champion the RAP Program and the role of Reconciliation Australia in providing advice and support to organisations in their respective reconciliation journeys. Ongoing – reported April, annually (internal) Director – Internal Communications, (external) Director – PM&C Communications
Champion reconciliation and influence government at all levels through the Indigenous Affairs Taskforce which aims to advance a number of priority national federation reform issues to improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians and progress national reconciliation. Ongoing – reported August, annually CEO
Update the NIAA signature block template to include our support for the reconciliation of a nation. July 2022 Lead: Chairs – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network

Support: Branch Manager – Culture & Heritage, Director –Internal Communications

Leverage NIAA’s leadership role and relationships with other Commonwealth departments and agencies to share lessons learnt, strategies, and to reflect on areas of improvement that embeds reconciliation across the APS via exploring a Community of Practice for APS Executive Level staff. First Community of Practice to convene June 2022, followed at six monthly intervals (December 2022, June and December 2023, June and December 2024) Chief Operating Officer, Branch Manager – Culture & Heritage
Host four ‘Speakers Series’ events per year on key issues in reconciliation – these can include academic leaders, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders or organisations, with possible partnership with other organisations. Ongoing – reported January, annually Lead: Director – Internal Communications

Support: Branch Manager – Culture & Heritage, Chairs – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network

Ensure the importance of the NIAA RAP is championed by the Executive, including at key events such as the RAP Launch, National Reconciliation and NAIDOC Week functions, and All Staff addresses. Ongoing – reported August, annually RAP Champion
Create a dedicated interactive site for the RAP on the NIAA intranet. July 2022 Lead: Director - Internal Communications
Through the NIAA’s International section, build and maintain two international connections with other countries to understand and learn from their approaches to strengthen Indigenous outcomes, and use this to influence and shape the way that we work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on key reforms. Ongoing – reported December, annually Lead: Group Manager - Strategic Policy Group
Demonstrate leadership by influencing Government entities through Closing the Gap Priority Reform Three – Transforming Government Organisations to address the transformational element outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Ongoing – reported February, 2023, 2024 Lead: Group Manager – Strategic Policy Group

4. Promote positive race relations through anti-discrimination strategies.

Deliverable Timeline Responsibility
Continuously review HR policies and procedures concerned with anti-discrimination. September, annually Lead: Chief People Officer
Engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander advisors to continuously improve our anti-discrimination policy. June, September, annually Lead: Chief People Officer

Support: Chairs – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network, Senior Indigenous Leadership Group

Implement and communicate an anti-discrimination policy for our organisation (as part of NIAA’s Bullying and Harassment Policy). July, 2023 Lead: Chief People Officer
Partner with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) to continuously review and improve APSC led HR policies and procedures that identify and eliminate racism (including institutional racism), discrimination and unconscious bias. Ongoing – reported June, September, annually Lead: Chief Operating Officer
Provide ongoing education opportunities for senior leaders and managers on the effects of racism. Ongoing – reported August, annually Lead: Chief People Officer

Support: Chairs – Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Network, Chairs – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network

Senior leaders to publicly support anti-discrimination campaigns, initiatives or stances against racism. Ongoing – reported August, annually Lead: DCEO, Operations and Delivery

Support: Internal Communications

Promote good news stories, events and tools, via the NIAA website, indigenous.gov. au and the NIAA intranet, that promote reconciliation and give tangible examples of reconciliation implemented in the NIAA. Ongoing – reported May, June, annually Lead: Director – Internal and External Communications

Support: All Group Managers, All Regional Managers

All NIAA staff will complete mandatory training on racism and discrimination. Ongoing – reported August, annually Lead: Chief People Officer