Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori public servants from all ten jurisdictions met in Canberra from 9-11 December, for the second ANZSOG Indigenous Public Servant Forum.
The forum, held with the financial support of the Australian Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and the Governments of South Australia, Tasmania and NSW, aims to develop a plan to improve representation of Indigenous peoples, culture and knowledge in the public sector. Many public sector agencies are still struggling to recognise the unique challenges faced by Indigenous employees and provide structures which recognise and reward their skills and knowledge.
The Forum opened with a thought-provoking speech from Aunty Mary Graham, an Associate Professor at the University of Queensland, and opening addresses from Professor Ian Anderson AO, Deputy Secretary at the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, and ANZSOG Dean and CEO Professor Ken Smith. Aboriginal comedian and MC Sean Choolburra kept everyone laughing throughout the night.
Monday’s sessions were a chance for delegates to reflect on where we are in our journey towards Indigenous recognition and representation in public services. Sessions included panels on representation, the difficulties of navigating community and public sector expectations, and the steps Aotearoa New Zealand Government departments are taking, that support the State Sector Act Reform currently underway.
Tuesday was a day for challenging conversations between delegates about what the future holds and what needs to be done to build a stronger, ‘deadlier’ public service.
A draft report summarising the delegates’ wide-ranging discussions and proposed actions, will be circulated in mid-January for comment, in time for ANZSOG’s second Indigenous Affairs Conference Reimagining Public Administration to be held in Melbourne on 20-21 February.
View photos from the Forum: