Why is this important?
As a major employer local councils have a significant opportunity to improve employment and career outcomes for Aboriginal people. Local government offers a wide range of employment and career development opportunities in regional and metropolitan areas.
Employment of Aboriginal staff is one of the most powerful ways that local government can improve service delivery to Aboriginal people, strengthen relationships with Aboriginal communities and advance reconciliation.
Developing culturally inclusive and welcoming workplaces are key to improving employment opportunities for Aboriginal people and retaining Aboriginal staff. Culturally inclusive councils acknowledge and respect Aboriginal culture, values and practices, and challenge racism and ignorance.
Aboriginal employment in local government is generally very low. To address this, some councils have set targets as part of an Aboriginal employment strategy.
What can your council do?
Councils can develop Aboriginal employment strategies to increase employment of Aboriginal people and address issues such as recruitment, training, mentoring, retention and career development.
The 2012 Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Engagement and Reconciliation Survey found that some Victorian councils are supporting better employment outcomes for Aboriginal people through:
* Cultural awareness training
* Employment policies
* Appointing Aboriginal Liaison Officers
* Aboriginal supplier procurement
* Assessing and developing workplace cultural safety
* Maintaining data on the number of Aboriginal employees Council has employed
The survey results do however highlight there is significant scope for improvement.
Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Employment Framework
Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has developed a Victorian Local Government Aboriginal Employment Framework to assist Victoria’s 79 councils increase their employment of Aboriginal people. Their framework overview sets out the rationale, main actions required by councils and the Aboriginal community. The framework is as an important tool/guide for councils to start work in this area, and is also a guide for Aboriginal people to understand what local government is about. It includes fact sheets and other important information.
Cultural Safety in Local Government
In July 2018 Reconciliation Victoria invited local government representatives from across Victoria to come together for a Learning Circle on Cultural Safety in Local Government.
Held at the Aborigines Advancement League in Thornbury, the event produced some remarkable insights into cultural safety and highlighted the challenges Aboriginal council workers can face in regards to ‘cultural loading’ issues in the workplace.
Read about what transpired in the Learning Circle – Brief report – 270718
What is Cultural Safety?
Cultural Safety recognises everyone has a right to be different and that society should ensure its institutions, including workplaces, are not dominated by any one cultural perspective. Practicing cultural safety and ‘naming’ culture attempts to ensure no section of society is deliberately marginalised or disadvantaged.
Last Updated: April 12, 2021 at 1:44 pm