Doing Things Differently

NSW Public Sector Aboriginal Employment Strategy 2014-17

Growing Aboriginal workforce participation across the NSW public sector

Download the Strategy (2.6MB)

Aboriginal Employment Strategy

Introduction to the Strategy

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.

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Aboriginal employment enhances our workforce diversity and so improves the services we deliver, particularly for Aboriginal people. It adds to the Sector’s capacity to innovate and to drive and improve results. It helps us to better understand Aboriginal customers and communities and to develop and deliver improved policies and programs.

The NSW Public Sector has made good progress in Aboriginal employment over the last ten years, as detailed in the independent evaluation of the previous Aboriginal Employment Strategy, Making it Our Business. Aboriginal employment levels are the highest they have ever been and the Aboriginal share of total Public Sector jobs is approaching that of the working age population as a whole. Some agencies have made even more significant progress and are benefitting from this.

However, more work needs to be done in Aboriginal employment to make the most of a truly diverse workforce:

  • Agencies that have very few or no Aboriginal staff should review the opportunities they can offer and reconsider how they might improve their results so that they can benefit from Aboriginal employment.
  • Many Aboriginal staff choose to work in specialist roles that provide services to Aboriginal people and communities, but there is potential for more Aboriginal staff to bring their capabilities to other roles in the Public Sector that they may not have previously considered. To harness this potential we need to use our workforce planning and staff development systems to open up new career pathways for our Aboriginal staff and to encourage them to consider the full range of available opportunities. In this respect, the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework will be a vital tool to improve the career development and job mobility of Aboriginal staff.
  • We need to do more in our workforce planning and development to improve pathways into senior management and executive roles. Aboriginal staff are still underrepresented in these senior roles.
  • Further work is needed to assist the understanding and improvement of Aboriginal cultural competence in the NSW Public Sector. This will both improve our services to Aboriginal customers as well as make the Sector attractive to Aboriginal people and their career development.

More broadly, there are other ways the NSW Public Sector can ‘close the gap’ between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in employment participation, such as the engagement of Aboriginal businesses to deliver services for Government Departments. NSW Government contracted service providers in the private and not-for-profit Sectors can be encouraged to employ and retain more Aboriginal staff to enhance the services they deliver. Aboriginal employment participation agreements can be included in major infrastructure projects and strategies can be implemented to prepare Aboriginal people, including students, to take advantage of these opportunities. While these opportunities are being addressed through the NSW Government Plan for Aboriginal Affairs OCHRE: opportunity, choice, healing, responsibility, empowerment, Departments and agencies should consider how they can use their procurement practices to create more jobs for Aboriginal people.

About This Strategy

Provides the background, aims and overview of the NSW Public Sector Employment Strategy 2014 - 2017.

Sector Wide Strategies

Strategies to improve Aboriginal workforce participation across the sector.

Department and Agency Strategies

Considerations and recommendations for departments and agencies seeking to implement successful Aboriginal employment strategies.


Strategy links to NSW Public Sector reforms.


Definitions of key terminology found in this strategy.


A brief background on the NSW Government's Plan for Aboriginal Affairs: Education, Employment and Accountability.

The aspirational target

This Strategy introduces an aspirational target of 1.8% by 2021. The aim of the target is to improve the distribution of our Aboriginal employees across all classifications of the Public Sector.

Meeting of waters - aboriginal artwork


Find out about the 'Meeting of Waters' artwork used in our strategy document.

The Public Service Commission acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which our office stands.