Aboriginal Australians

The DEOPE is committed to partnering with Aboriginal people to assist public authorities develop a talented and versatile Aboriginal workforce. In 2015/16 the DEOPE continued to work with the Public Sector Commission and other key stakeholders to focus on long-term sustainable opportunities for Aboriginal people in public employment.

As a result of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) National Partnership Agreement (the Agreement) on Indigenous Economic Participation, a commitment was made to increase Aboriginal employment across the public sector to 2.6 per cent by 2015 to reflect the national Aboriginal working age population. Each jurisdiction party to the Agreement, including Western Australia, set their own goal to contribute towards achieving the 2.6 per cent target.

Western Australia agreed to increase Aboriginal employment across the public sector to 3.2 per cent by 2015. Although we were unable to maintain our State goal, Western Australia has made good progress in Aboriginal employment over the past few years and exceeded the COAG national target, ahead of schedule, with the representation of Aboriginal people in the public sector at 2.7 per cent (March 2016). It is important to note, however, that Aboriginal employment statistics have some limitations due to the non-identification of Aboriginal status.

Table 5: Representation of Aboriginal Australians

  Category of employment

Representation (%)

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Public sector

Public sector (All staff)

3.3

3.0

2.9

2.8

2.7

Local government authority (LGA)

LGA (Indoor workers)

1.8

1.7

1.4

1.2

1.5

LGA (Outdoor workers)

6.1

6.3

4.6

4.2

3.9

Public universities

Public universities (Academic staff)

1.2

1.0

0.9

1.0

1.1

Public universities (General staff)

0.9

1.1

0.9

1.0

1.1

Other authorities

Other authorities (All staff)

1.4

1.5

1.6

1.5

1.7

COAG target (2009-2015)

2.6

2.6

2.6

2.6

2.6

Western Australia target (2009-2015)

3.2

3.2

3.2

3.2

3.2

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

Table 6 below shows the distribution of Aboriginal Australians across salary levels ('equity index') in public employment. An 'equity index' of 100 is ideal, with an 'equity index' of less than 100 indicating that Aboriginal Australians, as a group, are concentrated at lower salary levels for a particular category of employment.

Table 6: Aboriginal Australian distribution ('equity index')

  Category of employment

Distribution

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Public sector

Public sector (All staff)

35

39

41

42

42

Local government authority (LGA)

LGA (Indoor workers)

61

60

59

60

60

LGA (Outdoor workers)

91

90

87

86

110

Public universities

Public universities (Academic staff)

71

85

90

77

77

Public universities (General staff)

51

61

57

60

64

Other authorities

Other authorities (All staff)

51

49

53

49

46

Source: EEO surveys and HRMOIR

Employment is a key driver of wellbeing to enable individuals and families to control their own destinies independent of government, and to provide meaning and purpose. Under Resilient Families, Strong Communities: A roadmap for regional and remote Aboriginal communities the State government has committed to strengthening existing whole-of-government policies and practices to boost Aboriginal employment in the public sector through a focus on:

  • regionally-defined targets
  • agency engagement and performance
  • greater regional coordination to develop and supply the Aboriginal workforce
  • stronger accountability for results.

Within the context of this State government commitment the DEOPE, in partnership with the Public Sector Commissioner and Director General of the Department of Aboriginal Affairs, has progressed the development of a new Aboriginal employment strategy. The strategy will provide a cohesive

set of actions to assist public authorities to attract, appoint and advance Aboriginal people and highlight the importance of fostering inclusive workplaces that are culturally secure and supportive of the needs of their Aboriginal employees. It is envisaged the strategy will be released in late 2016.

In focus

Promoting cultural awareness in our schools

It is important we continue to promote culturally responsive workplaces which have a strong ethos based on honouring, respecting and valuing diversity, both in theory and in practice. In November 2015 the Department of Education, following extensive consultation, released the Aboriginal Cultural Standards Framework (the Framework)—which sets expected standards for staff when working with Aboriginal students, their families and communities. While other states and territories have cultural competency guidelines and protocols for delivering services to Aboriginal people, Western Australia is the first state or territory to implement a framework for public schools.

'Despite enormous effort and investment the educational achievement gap between Aboriginal students and their non-Aboriginal peers remains wide. It is time to move away from a long record of raising awareness about Aboriginal histories, cultures and languages to translating this awareness into culturally responsive actions in our schools', said Ms Sharyn O'Neill, Director General.

Through the adoption of the Framework it is hoped that Department of Education staff will progress from cultural awareness to cultural responsiveness, maximising outcomes for Aboriginal students, their families and communities.

'Our goal is to ensure Aboriginal students are confident and successful learners who complete their schooling with the knowledge and skills to access further education, training and employment', Ms O'Neill said.

Aboriginal Australians in Public Sector at a glance

Aboriginal Australians in the Public Sector at a glance

There are 2510 Aboriginal Australians in the public sector. 24.4% are men and 75.6% are women. 2.2% are people with disability. 56.1% work in regional WA; 43.9% work in the Perth metro area. Employment type (rounded to one decimal place): 71.9% permanent; 21.0% fixed term; 6.4% casual; 0.8% other. Age profile: 9.6% 24 and under; 44.7% 25-44 years; 45.7% 45 and over; Median age 43 years. Percentage across all classification levels (to nearest percent): level 1 34%; level 2 15%; level 3 10%; level 4 11%; level 5 11%; level 6 12%; level 7 4%; level 8 1%; level 9 1%; class 1 and above 1%. There are 6 members of the SES.


Source: HRMOIR


Page last updated 15 September 2016