The Defence Reconciliation Action Plan (D-RAP) 2019-2022 was launched on 14 August 2019 at the Australian War Memorial. The D-RAP 2019-2022 outlines Defence’s commitment to reconciliation and the whole of Government Closing the Gap strategy.
Defence’s commitment to reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous peoples is broader than increasing Indigenous representation in Defence. Defence is focused on enhancing and developing relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and increasing the cultural capability of Defence’s workforce to create a culturally safe and inclusive workplace for all. We are also deeply committed to the Government’s Indigenous Procurement Policy.
Defence launched its first D-RAP in 2007 which focused on cultural awareness, recruitment and retention, and land environmental management. Our second D-RAP
2010-2014 focused on building an enduring foundation towards reconciliation through changing perceptions of Indigenous cultural issues, creating specialised recruitment pathways and establishing strong support networks and systems to retain Defence Indigenous personnel.
The third D-RAP 2015-2018 was a ‘Stretch’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and outlined Defence’s commitment to reconciliation through the three key areas of offering employment opportunities, providing career development opportunities and providing Indigenous businesses with contracting opportunities.
Engaging with community
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 placed in each region to engage with local Indigenous communities.
Defence is committed to creating an inclusive environment that values, respects and draws on the diverse backgrounds, experiences, knowledge and skills of its people. Two key documents provide the framework to achieve this goal. Both documents provide the strategic level guidance for the organisation and provide the overarching guidance for service and group specific documents.
Defence's Indigenous Champions advocate for Indigenous participation within Defence and drive cultural awareness through Defence specific and whole of Government initiatives, including:
- promotion of Indigenous procurement opportunities in Defence
- promotion of Indigenous cultural awareness and inclusion throughout Defence;
- representation on whole-of-Government forums influencing Indigenous employment strategies and policies
- promotion of the deliverables and outcomes arising from the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan
- promotion of Defence’s contributions to the Commonwealth Government's National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
Defence is committed to supporting and developing its Indigenous members from when they first join the organisation right throughout their careers. Defence offers a range of support programs, Indigenous specific training opportunities, formal and informal networking and special provisions for its Indigenous employees.
A number of different forums have been established to ensure Defence’s Indigenous employees can provide guidance and advice to IA and the services. They include:
- Secretary and Chief of Defence Force Advisory Committee is the peak direction-setting and decision-making body for diversity and inclusion within the Department of Defence and is accountable for ensuring the achievement of Defence’s diversity and inclusion strategies.
- Chief of Service Committee considers bi-annual updates on ADF Indigenous initiatives.
- Defence Civilian Committee monitors and provides direction on Defence indigenous civilian initiatives on a quarterly basis.
- Defence Reconciliation Action Plan Working Group comprises of representatives from each group and service who provide a conduit for all members of Defence to participate in the development and implementation of DRAP 2015-18.
- Indigenous Cultural Advisory Group (ICAG) provides culturally appropriate advice on strategic issues, relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. The ICAG also provides culturally sensitive advice across the department on all polices and matters as required.
- Navy Indigenous Affairs Adviser to Chief of Navy is responsible for shaping the strategic direction for Navy Indigenous Affairs
- Senior Indigenous Adviser to Chief of Air Force is responsible for shaping the strategic direction for Air Force Indigenous Affairs.
- Army Indigenous Cultural Advisory Board is responsible for providing advice on, promoting and monitoring the implementation of the Army Indigenous Strategy across Army's Commands.