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Indigenous Careers

Acknowledgement of Country

Defence acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia. Defence recognises their continuing connection to traditional lands and waters and would like to pay respect to their Elders past and present. Defence would also like to pay respect to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have contributed to the Defence of Australia in times of peace and war.

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.

Engaging with Community

The APS Trainee Program Officer, Ms Jordan Wanganeen, delivers a presentation during the National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee 2016 Cultural Sharing Day.

Miss Nikki Maher (left) and Mr Karl Dank (right) with Air Vice-Marshal Margaret Staib, AM, CSC, Commander Joint Logistics at Joint Logistics Unit North, RAAF Base Darwin. Joint Logistics Commands pilot Indigenous Trainee Program commences at Joint Logistics Unit North (JLU-N). Commander Joint Logistics, Air Vice-Marshal Margaret Staib AM, CSC, Presents JLU-N indigenous trainees Mr Karl Dank and Miss Nikki Maher with their trainee contracts.

The 2014 Defence Australian Public Service (APS) Indigenous Traineeship Program participant Mr Kaden Hayes helps manage Woomera Test Range trials. The program’s trainees complete a twelve month work placement and study at a TAFE or recognised training provider. The program is aimed at providing the right skill sets for Indigenous job seekers to be employed within the APS.

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.

Cultural Dates and Events we Observe