Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians have long played, and continue to play, an important role in the Defence of Australia. Defence recognises the unique skills sets, knowledge and perspectives that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel bring to Defence to strengthen and enhance our capability.
The Directorate of Indigenous Affairs (DIA) is the strategic centre for Indigenous Affairs in Defence. DIA oversees the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 which was launched in August 2019. The D-RAP contains 61 key deliverables that support recruitment and retention, community engagement and Indigenous businesses.
Under the D-RAP, Defence has committed to a Defence Australian Public Service Indigenous participation rate to 3% by 2022 and an Australian Defence Force Indigenous participation rate to 5% by 2025.
To achieve these strategic objectives, Defence champions a range of pathway programs for Indigenous Australians seeking a career as an Australian Defence Force member or Australian Public Service employee. Defence continues to engage with the public through universities, TAFEs, schools, community groups, businesses partnering in community engagement and government agencies.
Defence is committed to establishing and maintaining relationships with Indigenous community organisations. Defence aims to nurture relationships with Indigenous communities and organisations to:
- Showcase Defence as a values-driven and culturally respectful employer that appreciates the past and present contributions of Indigenous Australians to the Defence of Australia;
- Communicate an integrated message to the broader Indigenous community about Defence employment, training, community contribution offers, and how to access those offers; and
- Provide opportunities for Indigenous communities, groups, organisations and individuals to provide feedback to Defence.
Community engagement is best achieved through the establishment and maintenance of meaningful relationships at the local level. Defence Indigenous Liaison Officers are well placed to engage with local Indigenous communities.