Our Aboriginal* workforce
The NSW Government is committed to growing and developing the Aboriginal workforce in the public sector. Since 2014, we have had a strong focus on career and leadership development for Aboriginal employees who aspire to progress their careers into more senior roles. This focus aligns with the Premier's Priority to drive public sector diversity, in particular: to double the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles in the government sector by 2025.
Reflective of this commitment, the Premier’s Award for Driving Public Sector Diversity recognises those that contribute to increasing the number of Aboriginal employees in senior leadership roles in the government sector.
We recognise that by having a workforce that better reflects the community it serves, is culturally competent and innovative, we will be better placed, as a sector, to develop effective policies and programs and deliver high-quality services to the people of NSW.
Of particular importance, improving representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at all levels in our workforce increases our opportunities to engage with Aboriginal people and communities and provide relevant and culturally appropriate services.
*Aboriginal, when used in this website is inclusive of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander People
Initiatives and resources
We have a number of initiatives in place to support and develop Aboriginal employees within the NSW government sector. These initiatives also contribute to improved outcomes for Aboriginal people across our wider community.
Select an initiative below to find out more:
This guide is to help NSW government sector staff observe appropriate Aboriginal cultural protocols at official events or at events where NSW government sector agencies are the host or an official sponsor of an event.
View the full cultural protocol guide
NSW Working together for a better future: the NSW Public Sector Aboriginal Employment Strategy (AES) sets out the key initiatives to be implemented across the NSW public sector and within departments and agencies over the period 2019 to 2025. These cross-sector activities will be driven by the NSW Public Service Commission in collaboration with departments and individual agencies. The strategy sets the direction and targets for improving the employment of Aboriginal peoples in the NSW public sector.
Our Aboriginal Career and Leadership Development Program has been specifically developed for Aboriginal NSW public sector employees who aspire to become leaders. It provides participants with the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions and activities aimed at building their leadership capabilities.
The Aboriginal Employment and Development Program aims to increase the number of capable Aboriginal people entering the NSW public sector and the program contributes to a long term approach to increasing Aboriginal staff representation.
The program provides a rewarding structured employment and development program designed to attract and retain Aboriginal people who have a desire for public service and are inspired by values aligned with those of the public sector. The program comprises of three core components: an 18-month job placement, a recognised tertiary qualification and a structured mentoring program.
As a key initiative of the NSW Public Sector Aboriginal Employment Strategy 2014 – 2017 four regional Aboriginal staff networks will be run by the PSC each year in key locations across NSW.
These events provide an opportunity for our Aboriginal employees to learn from each other and Aboriginal leaders from the sector and local communities.
The next events will be
For more information on our Aboriginal Workforce Network please email your details to Aboriginalworkforce@psc.nsw.gov.au. If you are a NSW Public Sector employee, register for our online Aboriginal Workforce Network.
Improving Aboriginal Cultural Competency in the Workplace is important for ensuring that NSW public sector departments and agencies develop and maintain workplaces that understand, respect and celebrate Aboriginal cultures. Our ability to bridge cultural differences will help us achieve a workplace that attracts, retains, supports and develops Aboriginal people.
The Aboriginal Cultural Protocols guide is to help NSW government sector staff observe appropriate Aboriginal cultural protocols at official events or at events where NSW government sector agencies are the host or an official sponsor of an event.
The Our Languages Matter series is designed to celebrate Aboriginal nations from across NSW, through the promotion of archived records of Aboriginal languages; newspaper articles and video clips that demonstrate the prevalence of Aboriginal languages across NSW; Aboriginal language lessons; and, other information on the importance of Aboriginal languages.
The Aboriginal Workforce Development Community of Practice provides a forum for Sector consultation on the operationalisation of the NSW Public Sector Aboriginal Employment Strategy 2014-2017. It does this by sharing best practice methods across the sector to improve employment and career development outcomes for Aboriginal people in the NSW public sector.
Meeting quarterly, membership of this group is limited to NSW public sector HR professionals, Aboriginal employment specialists and other managers, where relevant to their role in the NSW public sector.
The Aboriginal Employment Advisory Committee is a consultative group comprised of Aboriginal employees who provide an Aboriginal perspective to the PSC on the key strategic initiatives, as well as assisting in finding solutions for implementation challenges and issues.
The Committee comprises up to 15 Aboriginal public sector staff from across the NSW Government.
Representatives are in roles that are involved in Aboriginal employment, recruitment, career development and/or strategic policy. Members are drawn from each Department and represent the views or position of their Department/ agency. Meeting quarterly, the Committee is Chaired by a member of the PSC’s Aboriginal Workforce Development team.
How we’re doing
In 2018, workforce profile data confirmed Aboriginal employment levels in the NSW government sector are the highest they’ve ever been, currently at 3.3%.
In addition, the sector is on track to meet the aspirational target of 1.8% representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in all grades by 2022.(See Workforce Profile Report 2018)
The highest proportion of Aboriginal employees are, however, found in the lower salary bands and the number of executives who identify as Aboriginal remains low. More work is therefore required to deliver on the Premier’s Priority. (see Aboriginal Employment Strategy 2014-2017)
A long term strategy is to identify talent at all levels, build a pipeline to improve career progression for Aboriginal employees and ultimately increase the number of Aboriginal people in senior leadership roles in the sector.
Our Aboriginal Workforce Development team brings experience, knowledge and expertise to improve employment and career development opportunities for Aboriginal people in the NSW public sector.
The team works with agencies across the NSW public sector to provide advice and guidance on Aboriginal employment matters and work collaboratively to achieve systemic improvements.