I spoke today about Indigenous jobs in the public service.
Indigenous Public Service Jobs, 22 August 2012
As a member representing an electorate with a large number of public servants, I rise to speak about the employment of Indigenous Australians in the Australian Public Service. The government has set a target to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment in the APS from 2.2 per cent in 2010 to 2.7 per cent by 2015. We are working through COAG to make sure similar goals are met in the states and territories. Disturbingly, the State of the Service Report 2010-11 noted a decrease in Indigenous employees from 3,383 to 3,236 in that financial year—a four per cent drop. That was the first fall in the number of Indigenous public servants since 2008.
I commend the Attorney-General’s Department, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship, the Department of Health and Ageing, the Bureau of Meteorology and Screen Australia for their specific commitments to the COAG target of 2.7 per cent for Indigenous employment. The Department of Human Services also commits to a target for attracting and retaining employees who identify as a member of a diverse group.
This issue received some attention at the recent ACT Labor Party conference, where delegates called on the government to provide details on progress towards the COAG targets, to ensure greater opportunities for training and development and to ensure career pathways are provided for new and existing Indigenous employees. It is also vital that pay issues be addressed and that opportunities be provided in mainstream agencies and in nonmetropolitan and remote areas.
I have written to all ministers seeking their advice on how we might together work to meet the 2015 target. I would like to thank the Community and Public Sector Union and particularly Elizabeth Hay for their work in supporting Indigenous employment in the Australian Public Service. The National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cabinet gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members, delegates and activists a strong voice in the CPSU. NATSIC is about making sure that Indigenous people have a real say in the union’s agenda. In the ACT, I particularly acknowledge the work of Duncan Smith, who is a tireless advocate for the needs of Indigenous Australians. We need more Duncan Smiths in the ACT.
Indigenous Australians have made an extraordinary contribution Australia, and I hope that they will form an even larger proportion of the public service in coming years.