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Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Employment Policy

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Section 1 - Purpose and Context

(1) Western Sydney University acknowledges the Eora, Darug, D'harawal and Wiradjuri Peoples who are the traditional owners of the land on which the University's campuses are located, and thanks them for their support and contribution to its work.

(2) The University recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples are statistically amongst the most disadvantaged groups in Australia. The University aims to create a diverse range of employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples within the University.

(3) The University will develop agreed targets for employment and education initiatives with the objective of ensuring that the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees (researchers, and academic and professional staff) and students across all levels of the University is no less than the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the general population.

(4) The University will work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Greater Western Sydney to improve educational and employment opportunities and outcomes, as outlined in the University’s Strategic Plan [link to Securing Success]. The University aims to be the preferred employer of choice within Greater Western Sydney for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

(5) The University will be a responsive partner and welcomes diversity in the work place. It encourages applications from qualified Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People for all positions across the University. It will also provide employees with an opportunity to learn about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history so that they may work effectively in every setting.

(6) This policy describes the principles and procedures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' employment and engagement (in the context of employment) at the University.

(7) The University seeks to redress, through affirmative action in employment, the past disadvantages experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

(8) Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples do not need documentary evidence of their heritage to identify as an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander person. However they will be asked to provide confirmation when applying for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Identified roles and positions.

(9) Underpinning this policy is the University's commitment to reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and all Australians as outlined in the University's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Reconciliation Statement and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement Action Plan. It is committed to providing equal opportunity in employment and promoting inclusion through valuing diversity in the workplace.

(10) This policy should be read in conjunction with the commitments in the Professional Staff Agreement and Academic Staff Agreement, and reference to the Recruitment and Selection Policy, Honorary Titles and Awards Procedures, Indigenous Education Policy and the Respect and Inclusion in Learning and Working Policy.

(11) This policy is to be implemented in such a way that ensures compliance with the University's obligations under relevant legislation, including the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, Anti-Discrimination Act (NSW) 1977, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986, and the Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983.

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Section 2 - Definitions

(12) For the purpose of this policy, an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Person means (as adopted by the Commonwealth of Australia for administrative purposes) any person who:

  1. is of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander descent;
  2. identifies as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Person; and
  3. is accepted by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community in which he or she lives as an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
Reference: Australian Law Reform Commission
The requirements for confirmation of Aboriginality are outlined in the Procedures
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Section 3 - Policy Statement

(13) The University acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are central to the development of teaching and research of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' knowledge, which is acknowledged as critical to the higher education sector in particular and to Australian society as a whole.

(14) To develop a responsive organisational environment that values and respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and celebrates cultural differences, the University:

  1. encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees who have not previously identified and potential employees to identify in their employment records;
  2. promotes the recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples for employment at the University and their engagement in governance structures;
  3. recognises that an increased presence of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees will lead to better engagement with, and to becoming the employer of choice for, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and their communities;
  4. acknowledges that being an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander person is a genuine occupational qualification;
  5. acknowledges the unique scholarship Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples bring to the University as employees;
  6. celebrates the knowledge, skills, history and cultural diversity Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples bring to the workplace;
  7. recognises the consequential effects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' skills, contributions and knowledge in shaping and enhancing national and international socio-economic and cultural outcomes;
  8. recognises that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' knowledge provides a significant contribution to all other bodies of knowledge and must be appropriately attributed;
  9. recognises a supportive working environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples requires the redress of past social injustice, exploitation and employment inequity;
  10. encourages respect and consideration for the cultural, social, spiritual base and religious systems practised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples;
  11. acknowledges that participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in cultural or ceremonial activities enhances the effectiveness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as employees. A list of significant dates is available in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement Action Plan.

Objectives

(15) The University encourages and promotes employment initiatives to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples into positions at all levels including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander non-identified and identified positions.

(16) In accordance with the objectives in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement Action Plan, the University seeks to:

  1. develop leading strategies and help shape the national agenda in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and engagement;
  2. create a work environment that is culturally inclusive,free from discrimination, promotes an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and respect for the cultural, social and religious systems practised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples;
  3. achieve equitable participation rates and employment outcomes, retention and success, and sustainable career and employment prospects for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples at all levels and positions of the University for professional and academic staff, across a wide variety of academic disciplines;
  4. ensure that the perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and students is represented in decision making by providing places within the governance structure of the University for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples;
  5. ensure the University has the ability to meet the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples as an 'Employer of Choice';
  6. develop and implement employment opportunities to advance socio-economic,educational,health,social and leadership outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples;
  7. develop strategies and performance indicators for all research funding that include employment and participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples;
  8. build and develop a positive working relationship with the community and relevant stakeholders to ensure the improvement of employment outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.
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Section 4 - Procedures

(17) The University takes the following actions to achieve the objectives of this policy.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Employment Strategy

(18) The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Employment Strategy (the Strategy) outlines the University's objectives, areas of focus and implementation plan for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples employment at the University.

(19) The Strategy promotes the benefits of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement. The University will promote and implement the Strategy, including by:

  1. incorporating the Strategy into its employment policies;
  2. supporting all employees to respect and work within its guiding principles and be culturally capable in University Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workplace Relations; and
  3. publishing the Strategy on its website.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement Action Plan

(20) The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement Action Plan 2014-2017 is the University's organisational framework for achieving current and future strategies. The plan sets out detailed actions, timeframes and performance indicators to achieve its objectives.

(21) The University seeks advice from the following bodies which assist with monitoring activity and progress in providing opportunities for employment and for engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples:

  1. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy Consultative Committee, which:
    1. monitors and reviews the implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Employment Strategy; and
    2. is chaired by the Pro Vice-Chancellor Engagement and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Leadership.
  2. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders on Campus who:
    1. provide strategic advice and input into the University's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and engagement initiatives;
    2. include external community leaders and University representatives.

Improving Employment and Career

(22) To improve the participation rate and employment outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, the University will:

  1. develop innovative employment programs to attract and recruit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to all levels and types of employment at the University, including for all identified programs. These programs will include trainee or cadetships, graduate-entry, early career, middle and senior level programs in professional and academic positions across the University;
  2. develop programs to provide employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, including transition from study to employment or entry into the workforce - such as traineeships, cadetships, career coaching, mentoring and skill development workshops;
  3. provide increased opportunities for the appointment of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Peoples as Adjunct or Visiting Professors and Fellows;
  4. provide strategic advice to managers and supervisors in the process of recruiting and selecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, and managing and supervising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples on traineeships, cadetships or internships, or other employment programs, including support in undertaking career development planning, performance and review processes, and reward and recognition;
  5. Provide targeted orientation programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees;
  6. provide a University-wide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples workplace relations program giving priority to the delivery of the training in units with existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples;
  7. offer career development programs such as training, education, mentoring, job exchange, and other professional learning initiatives to build individual skills and leadership capacity;
  8. work with external partners to develop scholarships and support for work placements;
  9. work to provide research funding for projects with oversight or participation by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees;
  10. provide other development mechanisms and networks for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, including conferences, seminars and forums;
  11. create identified positions and provide guidance on how to conduct a targeted recruitment strategy for positions where applicants must be an Aboriginal and /or Torres Strait Islander Person. Being an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Person is a genuine occupational qualification as authorised under Section 14(D) of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, 1977 NSW. See section 5 of the Western Sydney University Recruitment and Selection policy for further information;
  12. adopt government initiatives that promote increased Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment participation, for example the NSW Aboriginal Participation in Construction Policy;
  13. include provision in contracts (for example with construction or maintenance suppliers) for the participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the relevant workforce;
  14. undertake an annual review of the numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees compared to the target and assess progress and development of further measures to assist in exceeding the target;
  15. provide an environment where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees are encouraged to achieve their full potential;
  16. facilitate and encourage direct involvement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in determining their own career strategies, goals and objectives, in consultation with their supervisors;
  17. attribute Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples' cultural IP in University goods and services.

(23) The University recognises the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in University research projects and an Aboriginal Participation Plan must be incorporated into projects which relate to Aboriginal research or communities and where possible for other research projects.

(24) The Director, Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement must be consulted before recruitment commences for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander persons to fill Identified positions and /or appointments to Adjunct or Visiting Professors and Fellows.

Recognising Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Status

(25) The University provides for the confirmation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status for employees under the Recruitment and Selection Policy.

(26) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees who have not previously identified as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person in their employment records, can update their details through Staff Online by completing the Equal Opportunity Survey in the personal details section. Refer to the Recruitment and Selection Policy for guidelines on providing confirmation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status.

Engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples

(27) The University will build mutually beneficial partnerships based on respect through the participation and contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in employment-related decision-making processes. This will include membership of certain selection panels, and involvement in staffing strategy development.

(28) The University will actively involve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in university governance, management, administration, teaching and research.

(29) The University will develop and deliver Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Workplace Relations and Cultural Appreciation training to ensure cultural competency, the participation of which will be a prerequisite in any recruitment, selection and promotion processes for staff.

(30) The University will partner with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to become an employer of choice and help disseminate culturally recognised employment practices to the wider community.

(31) The University encourages Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to participate in cultural diversity programs and services such as activities, committees and networks organised by the Office of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment and Engagement and the Badanami Centre for Indigenous Education; University-wide activities such as the Yarramundi Lecture series; and School-based programs.

Entering Alliances with External Organisations

(32) The University will engage with external organisations (community, businesses, industries and government) to:

  1. foster alliances and partnerships, and develop programs that improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment opportunities; and
  2. raise awareness of cultural diversity within employment, including developing and providing training programs in cultural diversity within the workplace.

University Policies

(33) To ensure cultural diversity is embedded within the University, all University-wide employment or staff-related strategies or policies will address the cultural diversity of the community in which the University operates, as appropriate.

(34) The University will incorporate into its policies and procedures the opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to participate in cultural activities and events, such as national days of observance etc.

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Section 5 - Guidelines

(35) A Recruitment and Selection Toolkit is available on the University's Intranet website and is linked to the eRecruit system.

(36) A Quick Guide to Australian discrimination laws:

(37) Australian Human Rights Commission

(38) Targeted recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people — a guideline for employers.

(39) Guidelines on how to apply for an exemption to the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 No 48.