Monday, 26 January 2015

Australian Government still failing to meet its overall target for Indigenous representation in the public sector

Perhaps MP for Warringah and Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott , the self-declared Prime Minister for Indigenous Affairs, might like to inform voters as to how he is going to ensure that the 2.7 per cent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ASTI) representation in the Australian Government public sector is finally met?

He has managed to boost the percentage of ASTI employees in the Dept. of Prime Minister and Cabinet from 0.8 per cent in 2012-13 to 14 per cent in 2013-14 by transferring approximately 260 staff from the former Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs to his department.(a)

However, this does not increase indigenous representation overall.

Excerpts from The Auditor-General Audit Report No.33 2013–14 Performance Audit, Indigenous Employment in Australian Government Entities:

* 5. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reports that, as at June 2013, there were approximately 248 500 Australian Government employees located in metropolitan and regional locations nationally.2 Of these, 167 2573 were employed under the Public Service Act. The remaining employees were employed by Australian Government entities under entityspecific legislation. Entities employing staff under the Public Service Act are known as Australian Public Service (APS) agencies. Those employing under other legislation are known as nonAPS bodies.4 As at February 2014, there were 122 APS agencies5, and 86 nonAPS bodies including 66 Commonwealth authorities and 20 companies.6

* 2.43 ANAO analysis of 104 APS agencies indicated that 79 per cent (82 agencies), reported Indigenous representation within the agency of between zero to two per cent…..

* Overall conclusion

22. To promote increased Indigenous employment, Australian Government entities currently implement a range of strategies to support the recruitment and retention of Indigenous employees. These include: APS Special Measures and Identified Positions, and similar recruitment arrangements in nonAPS bodies, to attract and recruit Indigenous employees; Indigenous employee representative bodies, mentoring arrangements, and specialised training programs to enhance career development and increase retention; and cultural awareness training for nonIndigenous employees to support an inclusive work environment. The development and implementation of these strategies reflects a commitment to increase Indigenous employment and retention. However, achieving the Australian Government's overall target of 2.7 per cent Indigenous representation in the Australian Government public sector by 2015 is unlikely, based on current data and trends.

23. The target of 2.7 per cent included both APS agencies and other Australian Government bodies. In June 2013, Indigenous representation in the APS was reported by the APSC to be at 2.3 per cent, a decline from 2.9 per cent in 2001, to 2.7 per cent in 2004, and 2.5 per cent in 2010. While there are significant differences in the level of representation achieved by entities in the public sector, in general, most APS agencies18 (79 per cent) recorded less than 2 per cent Indigenous representation in their workforces. Overall, based on a total APS population of 167 257, Indigenous employees would need to number 4515, nearly 700 (669) more than are currently employed in the APS, to achieve 2.7 per cent representation in the APS.  

24. The overall performance of nonAPS bodies is more difficult to assess as a coordinated reporting approach does not exist for these bodies as it does for APS agencies. However some individual entity reporting does exist, which shows, similar to APS agencies, there is considerable variability amongst individual nonAPS bodies. The ANAO reviewed a sample of reports from nonAPS bodies for the financial year 2012 –13 which indicated that Indigenous representation in these organisations varied from 0.11 per cent to 68 per cent. In particular, nonAPS bodies with an Indigenousspecific service
focus recorded higher representation. Based on available data for individual nonAPS bodies, it is likely that nonAPS bodies, in general, face similar challenges in recruiting Indigenous employees and contributing to the Australian Government target of 2.7 percent.  

(a) As at 30 June 2014 the Dept. of Prime Minister and Cabinet had 2,467 employees, including part-time and non-ongoing employees. [DPMC Annual Report 2013-14]

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