why is this important?

Local councils are major local employers, particularly in regional and rural communities, and are well placed to support First Peoples employment and economic participation opportunities. According to the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government, employing more First Peoples in council makes good business sense. By building diversity, councils can improve policies and service delivery, and by becoming an employer of choice for First Peoples can help improve community cohesion.

Local councils also have a major opportunity to play a key leadership role in developing culturally inclusive and welcoming workplaces. Evidence shows valuing and embracing the contributions of First Peoples employees within the organisation and the wider community supports the attraction and retention of these employees and improves engagement with First Peoples-owned businesses. Furthermore, councils have the capacity to take advantage of their unique position as a ‘place-based’ employer, a point which can be particularly attractive to potential First Peoples employees given the importance of place in First Peoples cultures.

Recommended Strategies

  • Develop a First Peoples Employment Strategy.
  • Audit upcoming employment opportunities in council and consider which roles should be First Peoples-identified.
  • Consider including identified positions across your entire organisational chart, including in branches like art, culture, land management, sport and youth.
  • Write position descriptions and advertisements for roles in collaboration with local First Peoples’ community organisations.
  • Strongly encourage First Peoples to apply for positions at all levels of council and provide mentoring and training opportunities to encourage First Peoples’ career growth and leadership.
Whittlesea

Case Studies

The City of Whittlesea developed an ‘Aboriginal Employment Pathways Strategy and Action Plan’ to guide Council on how to be a more culturally appropriate and inclusive workplace, where First Peoples choose to work because they feel welcomed and valued. The strategy outlines some of the Council's history, background, and reasons for developing the strategy, the development process, and the Key Action areas that will be followed and reported on. Strategies such as these hold councils accountable to being equal opportunity employers, and give strategic direction for how council’s can engage First Peoples better in employment opportunities.

links and resources

Employment of Aboriginal People | Municipal Association of Victoria

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy and Action Plan | City of Darebin

Steps to the Future | Latrobe City Council

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