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Diversity and Inclusion

Our goal in the NSW public sector is to attract and retain the right people for the right jobs, no matter what their gender, race, age, religious beliefs, or personal commitments. This means that we should be embedding diversity and inclusion in everything we do - our recruitment processes, workplace culture, career development programs, customer service, policies and procedures.

Diversity refers to the seen and unseen characteristics that make every one of us different. A diverse NSW public sector workforce is one that reflects the depth and breadth of differences between people who live in NSW.

Inclusion, a related concept, is the act of enabling genuine participation and contribution, regardless of seen and unseen differences. Acts that facilitate inclusion help employees to feel safe to be themselves to work. Diversity and inclusion go hand in hand: the benefits of diversity are unlocked by ensuring that employees feel accepted, valued and listened to.

When workforce diversity and inclusion are valued there are many benefits. Among them are improved performance and productivity, more innovative problem solving, greater employee attraction and retention, and better customer service.

Act, regulation, rules

At a glance

The Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (GSE Act) allows for a broad concept of diversity, although currently undefined within the Act itself.

Under section 63 of the GSE Act, the head of a government sector agency is responsible for workforce diversity within the agency and for ensuring that workforce diversity is integrated into workforce planning in the agency.

GSE Rule 26 facilitates the employment of persons who may otherwise be disadvantaged in employment in the government sector. Currently this applies to the employment of Aboriginal people, people with disability, refugees, and young people.

In addition, Rule 27 requires the head of a government sector agency to provide information relating to workforce diversity within the agency.

Workforce diversity benchmarks and targets for annual reporting purposes

Under the Annual Reports (Departments) Regulation 2015 and the Annual Reports (Statutory Bodies) Regulation 2015, Departments and statutory bodies must report on their workforce diversity achievements during the reporting year and their key workforce diversity strategies proposed for the following year.

Premier's Priority on diversity

Having diverse leadership ensures that the NSW Government represents the community it serves.

The NSW government sector is working to increase the number of women and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles. The Premier’s Priority sets a target of having 114 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander senior leaders, and increasing the proportion of women in senior leadership roles to 50 per cent by 2025.

Read more about the Premier's Priority on Driving public sector diversity.


The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 states that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person when applying for a job, at work and when leaving a job on the grounds of race, sex, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, caring responsibilities or marital or domestic status. Further information on discrimination is provided by the Anti-Discrimination Board.

More information

  • The NSW Government is committed to growing and developing a talented and versatile Aboriginal workforce in the Public Sector. We need Aboriginal people employed right across the Sector, in a wide range of roles, and at all levels - from trainees to Department heads and executive roles.

    By providing improved employment opportunities, the NSW Government is able to contribute to ‘closing the gap’ in economic participation for Aboriginal people, in particular through better employment and career outcomes, improved health outcomes and a higher standard of living for Aboriginal people. Read more about the Aboriginal Employment Strategy.

  • The Plan aims to increase the number of people with disability employed across the NSW public sector from an estimated 2.7 per cent to 5.6 per cent by 2027

    People with disability are a largely under-engaged workforce and can bring new skills and perspectives to the NSW public sector. The plan looks to address attraction and retention, build sector capacity and performance, and create accessible and inclusive workplaces that reflect the communities we serve.