Department of Human Services staff gathered in Canberra last week to celebrate the launch of its national Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2018-2022.
With more than 33,000 staff delivering payments and services to almost every Australian, the department works to support reconciliation and close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.
National Manager, Indigenous and Remote Servicing Branch, Lauren Callinan said the plan outlines this commitment through strategies that improve opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and customers.
“A huge achievement is that we’ve increased the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff from 3.1 per cent to 5.2 per cent since our last RAP,” Lauren said.
“This includes 645 staff employed through our Indigenous Apprenticeships Programme.”
“We’re also proud to say the department is spending $24 million on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.
The department was the first Federal Government agency to have its own RAP after partnering with Reconciliation Australia, and continues to be a leader for reconciliation in the public sector.
“We’ve had some fantastic achievements, however we still have a long way to go,” said Lauren.
“Our RAP is ambitious, positive and meaningful, and it will guide us on our reconciliation journey for the next four years.”
Reconciliation Australia CEO Karen Mundine said all Australians have a part to play in the reconciliation journey.
“Government agencies occupy a particularly critical sphere of influence,” Karen said.
“The decisions they make and the way they operate have a profound impact on all Australians.
“This means that you have a great opportunity and responsibility to advance national reconciliation.”
“By raising the bar of your RAP ambitions, the department is setting an example as a leader in reconciliation.”
The department’s RAP was awarded ‘Elevate’ status by Reconciliation Australia, this is reserved for organisations with a proven track record of embedding effective RAP initiatives.
Staff at the launch enjoyed performances from Diramu Aboriginal Dance and Didgeridoo who told traditional stories of hunting, food gathering and Australian native animals.