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An Indigenous perspective on affirmative measures


Defence, in partnership with Reconciliation Australia, has developed its third Reconciliation Action Plan. The Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2015–2018 reflects Defence’s enduring recognition of the Indigenous culture and commitment to providing employment opportunities. The plan was developed around the strategic intent of enhancing capability by providing career or business opportunities and supporting the Australian community.

Katharine Martin, Communications Officer Defence People Group
Katharine Martin, Communications Officer Defence People Group

To support the plan, Defence is implementing a number of programs to meet Indigenous recruitment targets and to ensure that it is a leader in Indigenous inclusion and reform. Through the Affirmative Measures program, Defence has increased employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians. The program experienced great success when it was trialled in 2013 and now runs across all locations, encompassing all APS levels.

Miss Katharine Martin was excited to be provided the opportunity to join Defence under the Affirmative Measures program. She started with Defence in January 2016 after graduating from the University of Canberra with a bachelor degree in communications and advertising and now works in the Defence People Group Communications Team.

‘I feel very privileged to have secured a position with Defence under the Affirmative Measures program. Although I still had to win my position, it gave me an opportunity in the first instance to showcase my skills at interview, and for that I am incredibly grateful.’

Through the Affirmative Measures program, 111 Indigenous employees have been employed since 2013.

Defence expects these numbers to increase as more Indigenous Australians become aware of the Affirmative Measures program.

‘As an Indigenous Australian, I am proud to work for an organisation that is inclusive and supportive’, Miss Martin said. ‘I feel encouraged to not only develop my career, but to celebrate my culture simultaneously.’

‘Our diversity is what makes us different and difference is good. When we support each other we become better at what we do, because we enjoy coming to work and feel valued.’

Defence is committed to ensuring the success of the Affirmative Measures program so that Indigenous employees can play a leadership role in delivering future capability needs.

The Affirmative Measures program will continue in 2016 and beyond, with at least 25 positions on offer each year as part of the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan.