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Detailed below under four themes are just some of the various Aboriginal employment related initiatives already in place across the department:
- Two senior Aboriginal appointments were created in 2019 to provide strategic policy and program advice and support across DHS. A Senior Manager, Aboriginal Practice and Programs position sits within the Strategic Policy and Reform division with responsibility for strengthening the links been DHS and Aboriginal communities and for influencing Aboriginal business into DHS policy and programs. The Principal Aboriginal Workforce Consultant within the People and Performance Division provides support to all divisions on best practice initiatives in achieving Aboriginal employment recruitment and retention strategies as well as providing cultural advice, support, and advocacy to the DHS Aboriginal workforce.
- As part of their Aboriginal Service Model in Accommodation Services, Disability Services have recently recruited several Aboriginal staff to deliver culturally services to Aboriginal people with disability.
- A dedicated Aboriginal Recruitment Guide was launched in 2020 designed to provide a practical guideline for DHS managers and staff involved in the recruitment and selection of Aboriginal people. It incorporates best practice employment principles to encourage the recruitment of Aboriginal people including identified Aboriginal positions.
- DHS actively participates in the South Australian Public Sector Aboriginal Traineeship Program, as part of the South Australian Government Aboriginal Affairs Action Plan 2019–2020, with 11 trainees employed through that Program. These trainees commenced employment in a variety of administrative roles while a further five Aboriginal trainees have recently commenced placement within Accommodation Services.
- DHS actively promotes the South Australian Aboriginal Employment Register, coordinated out of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment (OCPSE) to fill vacancies across all business areas.
- Aboriginal employees are supported to achieve qualifications through DHS study provisions with up to 100 per cent reimbursement of study fees granted in addition to study leave.
- An online Aboriginal Awareness Program is mandatory for all staff to complete. In addition, a two-day mandatory Aboriginal Cultural Sensitivity and Respect training program has been coordinated via Stanton Institute, the department’s Registered Training Organisation. As of October 2020, over 85 per cent of DHS staff had completed the two-day training course.
- A refreshed Aboriginal cultural learning framework and supporting programs will be designed and procured in 2021.
- The Aboriginal Leadership Group was established in April 2020, with representation from across all divisions. Meeting bi-monthly, the Group has been designed to be a collective voice for senior Aboriginal staff within DHS and provide culturally sound advice to the ELT.
- Through the Aboriginal Leadership Group, DHS has created a Community Reference Group to ensure purposeful engagement occurs between a key government agency and community. The Reference Group aims build a strong engagement connection between DHS and key representatives of the Aboriginal community.
- The DHS Nunga Network was created to raise the profile and awareness of matters relevant to Aboriginal employees across all areas of DHS, and to provide a peer support and information sharing network for Aboriginal employees. Coordinated monthly, the forums are conducted virtually to allow all Aboriginal employees to participate, including those in regional and remote parts of South Australia.
- DHS is now a Reconciliation SA Gold member, the highest membership level available. Gold membership provides a range of reduced-price event access, exclusive information/resources and advisory support by the Reconciliation SA Executive team.
- DHS is currently completing an Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
- Each year DHS celebrates Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week with a diverse range of learning events and celebrations, including the DHS Chief Executive Award for Aboriginal Employee of the Year acknowledging an outstanding Aboriginal employee who has shown leadership and driven positive change both in the department and community. 2020 saw DHS provide an outstanding array of workshops, forums and celebrations throughout Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week.
- DHS offers flexible work arrangements to assist Aboriginal employees to better meet their work and family obligations. Employees are also able to access special leave with pay (cultural leave) to attend essential cultural and ceremonial activities.
- DHS continues, where appropriate, to provide cultural signage throughout its premises. Most recently work has commenced on developing a new cultural walk and connection space at the Kurluna Tapa Youth Justice Centre. Work is also underway on identifying appropriate Aboriginal naming and signage for the new training room facilities within Riverside.