As part of its inclusion framework, the Directorate developed the Our First Peoples: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Action Plan January 2021 to June 2022. The Plan focuses on better understanding our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees’ needs and aspirations. This will help the Directorate provide effective and supportive retention strategies and develop appropriate mechanisms around building individual capability through personalised plans. The Plan is accompanied by a How Can I Contribute? factsheet, designed to provide managers and staff with information and ideas on how they can support the Plan. The Plan also supported the Directorate’s commitment to establish the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employee Network.

Achievements during the period are outlined in the following table:

Table 62 - Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Action Plan

Focus areas

Outcome

Attract and promote employment opportunities

  • Business units advertised opportunities in mainstream Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander publications, media and networks, and external recruitment agencies.
    Our recruitment strategies were complemented by information sessions focusing on engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into the ACTCS and ACT Fire and Rescue (ACTF&R) workforces.

A specialist agency, Pipeline Talent, was engaged to:

  • provide advice via a training session for all panel members on how to ensure the recruitment and interview process are culturally safe,
  • provide suitable interview questions and responses to assess a person’s cultural competence, and conduct independent cultural competency checks, and
  • provide a brief interview with applicants who were being considered for the roles after interview, and a cultural referee check with a respected Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person nominated by the applicant.

Create suitable employment opportunities at all levels across the Directorate including
at senior management levels

  • The ACT Courts and Tribunal (ACTCT) Access to Courts Action Plan includes support for the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Courts, the profession and universities whereby Indigenous law students undertake work with a Judge, Magistrate, or a member of the ACT legal profession, thereby creating opportunities for mentoring and career development. The ACT Magistrates Court hosted a law student under this program in 2021.

Continue to support entry level opportunities

  • The Directorate continues to engage with the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD) in relation to the ACTPS-wide initiatives, including the Graduate Program and ACTPS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Vocational Employment Program. In October 2020, the Directorate employed a trainee under the ACTPS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Vocational Employment Program.
  • ACT Fire and Rescue (ACTF&R) continued participation in the NSW Indigenous Fire and Rescue Fire and Rescue Strategy (IFARES) to engage Indigenous firefighter candidates. ACTF&R has employed five employees through the IFARES program, with another four who are currently completing or have completed the program and who may be found suitable for employment for the 2022 recruit colleges.

Develop

Ensure all employees have access to the JACSDirect training calendar and advertised
programs, including new managers who supervise employees who identify being an
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

  • Learning and development opportunities offered to staff are centrally accessible through the online learning management systems ACTGOV Learn and JACS Training. These are promoted through business unit communication to workgroups, and emails targeting specific workgroups and staff on diversity and inclusion programs.

Ensure all employees have a Performance Plan in place. Performance plans should support

and encourage employees to participate in career planning - including management and
developmental opportunities, coaching and mentoring

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness Training for all employees

  • To enhance cultural integrity within the Directorate and as part of a response to the JACS Diversity and Inclusion framework and the Reconciliation Action Plan, business units offered a range of opportunities to staff to develop personal and shared cultural awareness, understanding and confidence.
  • During 2020-21, 131 JACS staff completed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness training. Of these, 79 attended the training delivered by Yuruana Centre and 52 completed the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Awareness (SBS) e-learning, this was an increase from 44 staff who attended training in 2019-20.
  • In addition to internally facilitated programs, Executives and staff are encouraged to participate in the Diversity Council Australia webinars. In the last reporting period,
    JACS staff attended: Gari Yala: Speak the Truth webinar; Exploring the Impacts of COVID-19 on Indigenous People and Work; Building Workplace Capability for Indigenous Australia: Indigenous Workforce Engagement; and Moving from Safe
    to Brave on Reconciliation Australia.
  • Within ACT Corrective Services, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness training is required for staff. All new Correctional Officers are required to attend this training as part of their Induction. Other Corrective Services staff register
    to attend the training as part of general training.
  • In addition to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness, Correctional Officers also undertake the following to perform their roles:

Delivered during Custodial Recruitment Training

  • Indigenous Liaison officer and Royal Commission into Aboriginal Death in Custody session
  • Diversity
  • Respect, Equity and Diversity Training

Obtained during Certificate III Correctional Practice

  • PSPGOV3088 Work effectively with diversity
  • CSCOFM004 Protect the safety and welfare of vulnerable offenders
  • CSCOFM005 Protect the safety and welfare of Aboriginal and Torres Strait offenders

Obtained during Certificate IV Correctional Practice

  • CSCORG006 Work effectively with culturally diverse offenders and colleagues
  • As part of ACT Courts and Tribunal (ACTCT) Access to Courts Action Plan, cultural competency development sessions continue to be organised for the judiciary and registrars which provide targeted training for customer facing staff.
  • ACTCT have made available for staff via the intranet, information on Indigenous Support Services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people accessing ACT Courts. ACTCT have also developed a Cultural Awareness Staff Factsheet to guide staff on cultural sensitivities and awareness.

Retain

By building a culturally safe working environment

Participate in mentoring and peer support programs

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are supported to attend whole-of-government and Directorate networking meetings and events which bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff from across ACT Government together to share experiences and support each other in both formal and casual setting.
  • Legislation, Policy and Programs (LPP) included in their weekly staff meetings a regular item to identify and discuss safety issues. Staff including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are encouraged to develop responses to these issues. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are encouraged to participate in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff network.
  • The JACS RAP Committee, in partnership with the JACS Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network launched the ‘Happy to Yarn’ group. The ‘Happy to Yarn’ group is a workplace initiative that is aimed at creating a safe place for non-Aboriginal staff to ask questions around what is and is not appropriate to say about Aboriginal Culture and Aboriginal people.

Promote dates of significance and participate in events

  • The JACS Reconciliation intranet page provides a central hub of information for staff to connect with and learn more about Reconciliation and the positive steps they can take to get involved.
  • The JACS News run regular articles from across the Directorate that promote and raise visibility of culturally significant dates, events, and milestones.
  • During 2021 the JACS RAP and Communications and Media Team led campaigns to promote and encourage staff to attend and participate in key Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander dates of significance.
  • Engagement resources were rolled out as part of the campaigns such as the delivery of Acknowledgement of Country resources. This included an educational video filmed at Black Mountain Peninsula which shared the importance of Acknowledging Country, and lanyard cards with an Acknowledgement of Country script to support all staff to learn and be able to express an acknowledgement of country at any time.

Create an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employees Network

  • Supported by the RED Executive Champion, the first meeting of the Directorate’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network was held in March 2021.
  • As a mechanism to create inclusive work practices, giving voice to Aboriginal land Torres Strait Islander employees, and supporting the JACS RAP, ACTF&R established an Indigenous Advisory Committee (IAC).
  • The IAC provides ACTF&R firefighters who identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander a mechanism to convey their views and offer guidance and advice to ACTF&R (through the Chief Officer) on a range of matters including peer support, representation on broader government advisory and consultation committees and ACT Government Respect, Equity and Diversity initiatives.

Encourage and support employees to update their diversity status by ensuring messaging is clear about intent and purpose

  • Annually, the Directorate’s Chief Human Resource Officer invites staff to update their diversity details into the payroll system with the last correspondence issued in August 2020. Staff are encouraged to provide this information to support the Directorate’s Diversity and Inclusion commitments, and Our First Peoples: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Action Plan by ensuring accurate workforce information is available.