Our Aboriginal Employment Plan sets out how we will do this while achieving lasting change and sustainable jobs for Aboriginal people.

DELWP recognises the need to build and strengthen its relationship with the Traditional Land Owners in Victoria and to work with Aboriginal communities across the State to provide employment, training and business opportunities to all Aboriginal people living in Victoria.

Our target for Aboriginal employment is to have 3% Aboriginal employment within DELWP by 2020. This builds on a previous target to have Aboriginal employment at DELWP at 1%. In 2016, that target was reached, with 32 Aboriginal staff among 3100 employees.

DELWP Aboriginal Inclusion Plan 2016-2020 (PDF, 1.0 MB)
DELWP Aboriginal Inclusion Plan 2016-2020 (DOCX, 332.1 KB)

aboriginal inclusion cover artwork

DELWP attracts and recruits talented Aboriginal people

We will focus on improving our external branding, recruitment procedures and strategies to ensure they are culturally appropriate and designed to attract and support Aboriginal people becoming DELWP employees.

Some of the key actions:

  • Establish an ongoing Aboriginal Employment Programs Coordinator position within People and Culture to provide technical advice and coordinate the delivery of the Aboriginal Employment Plan.
  • Establish clear governance, consultation arrangements and reporting framework for the Aboriginal Employment Plan.
  • Work with the VPSC and DELWP Groups to identify potential roles to be filled by Aboriginal graduates through the GRADS program.
  • Work with the VPSC to establish a process to offer cadetships to Aboriginal people.

Aboriginal people have rewarding careers in DELWP

Providing our current Aboriginal employees with new opportunities to build on their capabilities and to apply them in different roles across DELWP will be a key focus for this plan. This will include a strong focus on career progression and ensuring Aboriginal staff are supported to develop their educational qualifications and seek vacancies and promotions to more senior positions within the department.

Some of the key actions:

  • Partner with the Institute of Public Administration Australia to establish a mentoring program for Aboriginal employees and managers and supervisors of Aboriginal employees.
  • Leverage from the Aboriginal staff network to establish a place-based support and mentoring program to induct and support new and existing Aboriginal employees.
  • Establish a process to support all Aboriginal employees and their managers to gain skills in accordance with DELWP’s capability priorities. This would be included in performance plans for staff in regional and remote locations who may have fewer development options.
  • Review selection process for current departmental leadership programs to ascertain whether any barriers may exclude Aboriginal employees from being identified and selected.

Aboriginal people feel culturally safe within DELWP workplaces

Cultural safety in an organisational context means that the workplace is equipped to provide a culturally safe atmosphere where a person’s cultural identity is respected.

Cultural Safety is an environment that is safe for people; where there is no assault, challenge or denial of their identity, of who they are and what they need. It is about shared respect, shared meaning, shared knowledge and experience, of learning together with dignity, and truly listening.

In line with DELWP’s approach to workplace culture and values, the department is committed to providing such a workplace.

Some of the key actions:

  • Review the DELWP Aboriginal Staff Network to enhance and extend the network to include Aboriginal people in DELWP’s public entities.
  • Establish an events committee to assist in the planning and staging of key events in the Aboriginal community calendar such as Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC week, Mabo Day, and Sorry Day.
  • Amend the department’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy to incorporate key outcomes in supporting Aboriginal culture in Victoria.
  • Develop and deliver an Aboriginal cultural awareness program for DELWP executives addressing current Aboriginal issues, policy and strategic approaches.
  • Develop and deliver a cultural awareness program for People and Culture within DELWP addressing current Aboriginal and issues, current approaches, the role of the Aboriginal Employment Plan and cultural awareness.

DELWP implements a place-based approach to close the participation gap

DELWP’s groups will provide a range of employment and training opportunities for Traditional Owner groups and local Aboriginal communities. DELWP will work with these groups to identify opportunities in our projects for employment and training via traineeships, cadetships, scholarships and casual and full time employment.

The level and success of that engagement will be influenced by the relationships we establish and how we partner with each community. We will build our reputation by:

  • Demonstrating our knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal issues and our willingness to collaborate.
  • Actively engaging with local stakeholders to determine opportunities and priorities.
  • Building relationships with local recruitment and training agencies specialising in Aboriginal placements.
  • Becoming recognised locally as an organisation where Aboriginal people can compete successfully for jobs.

DELWP’s on-the-ground strategy will be developed in partnership with Aboriginal organisations and tailored to local needs. This will involve extensive local engagement and be guided across all groups by our place-based approach. The delivery model aims to consider regional and local differences and complexities.

Some of the key actions:

  • Develop a guide to aid the development of divisional and regional Aboriginal employment plans.
  • Develop group Aboriginal employment plans, including targets, in partnership with Traditional Owner Groups and local Aboriginal communities.
  • Establish in each group DELWP Aboriginal employment planning groups to support place-based approach initiatives at the group level.

Aboriginal employment initiatives

DELWP employs five Team Leaders for Indigenous Partnerships. This is an important role in our new structure announced in March 2016 that will enable a new and integrated way of working with the community. Among other responsibilities these roles support recruitment, training and provide staff support for Aboriginal Employees engaged in the Project Firefighter Program (see below). The Team Leaders also play an important role in establishing and maintaining effective relationships and working closely with Traditional Owners and local Aboriginal communities.

DELWP uses Aboriginal identified and designated positions to attract suitable candidates for jobs that involve significant engagement with Aboriginal communities and require a deep understanding of Aboriginal culture (for designated positions the incumbent must be an Aboriginal person). Identified and designated positions help to effectively develop and deliver policies and programs affecting Aboriginal people and provide an important source of recruitment for members of Victoria’s Aboriginal community.

This annual program assigns 18 first-year Project Firefighter positions as designated to support Aboriginal people to gain initial entry level employment into DELWP. Project Firefighters are employed during the fire season from October to April to support DELWP’s emergency preparedness and response capability and to help suppress bushfires and assist in prevention works. The allocation of 18 Project Firefighter positions as designated supports employment, education and training for Aboriginal persons in local Aboriginal communities. DELWP is reviewing recruitment processes to further improve the program.

An Aboriginal Inclusion Plan Steering Committee is supporting implementation of Munganin – Gadhaba and helping to strengthen the department’s engagement with Aboriginal communities.

The committee is chaired by the Deputy Secretary, Corporate Services and includes Deputy Secretaries or their senior nominees from each DELWP group.

Aboriginal Cultural Awareness is a mandatory cross cultural DELWP training program supported by the Team Leaders Indigenous Partnerships.

As part of its regular evaluation of training programs, People and Culture commissioned a review in 2015 to evaluate the delivery and impact of the ICAP. The report found there was much to recommend the current ICAP which brings staff into contact with Traditional Owners and is highly valued by staff. The evaluation report identified refinements to strengthen the program for staff and senior managers.

An Aboriginal Staff Network provides a supportive environment for Aboriginal staff across DELWP and a place to identify common issues and provide peer support. The program also provides professional development for those who may feel isolated in their work locations.

Our diversity strategy contributes to improving the workplace and inclusion culture and, in doing so, reinforces and supports the department’s Aboriginal inclusion and employment plans.

The department’s diversity vision is:

‘A culture that embraces individual differences in all forms and fosters innovation and inclusion to build a vibrant workplace’.

The strategy’s objectives are:

  1. Achieve sustained change in attitudes and practice by promoting inclusion and participation.
  2. Improve service delivery through supportive leadership and capacity building.

Reduce barriers to obtaining and maintaining employment with DELWP by actively supporting diversity in all its forms.

Traditional Owner groups

Victoria currently has agreements with six Traditional Owner groups:

Yorta Yorta Cooperative Management Agreement, 10 June 2004.
Wotjobaluk, Jaadwa, Jadawadjali, Wergaia and Jupagulk Peoples Native Title Consent Determination, 13 December 2005.
Gunditjmara Native Title Consent Determination, 30 March 2007.
Gunaikurnai Native Title Consent Determination, 22 October 2010.
Gunditjmara and Eastern Maar Peoples Native Title Consent Determination, 27 July 2011.
Dja Dja Wurrung Recognition and Settlement Agreement, 28 March 2013.

Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners and Welcome to Country guidelines

Identify the appropriate traditional owners for the event using the table of DELWP Sites and Traditional Owners listed in the guidelines.

Acknowledgement of Traditional Owners and Welcome to Country guidelines (DOCX, 190.1 KB)


Munganin – Gadhaba: 'Achieve Together'

Our Aboriginal inclusion plan Munganin – Gadhaba, meaning 'Achieve Together' in the Taungurung language, sets out DELWP's approach to inclusion for 2016 – 2020.

The plan, a key part of growing diversity at DELWP, was launched by Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Natalie Hutchins.

DELWP Aboriginal Employment Plan 2016 – 2020

This key initiative of Munganin – Gadhaba, focuses on lasting change, sustainable jobs for Aboriginal people and productive working partnerships. It outlines around 60 actions to achieve the outcomes of Recognition and Respect, Opportunity and Prosperity, and Participation and Collaboration.

DELWP Aboriginal Employment Plan 2016-2020 (PDF, 1.2 MB)
DELWP Aboriginal Employment Plan 2016-2020 (DOCX, 4.9 MB)

2016 Annual Work Plan

DELWP is developing partnerships to increase opportunities for Aboriginal employment, cultural wellbeing and economic prosperity while bringing knowledge of country to our management of land, water, the natural landscape and built environments.

The Annual Work Plan sets out a range of actions across all objectives.

DELWP Annual Work Plan 2016 (PDF, 464.9 KB)
DELWP Annual Work Plan 2016 (DOCX, 1.2 MB)