Diversity Strategy 2016–2018 and Action Plan 2016-17

​​​​​​​​​Fore​word from the Secretary

I am pleased to present the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources' Diversity Strategy 2016-18 and Action Plan 2016-17.

The strategy sets out our formal commitment to a workplace culture that builds respect, fosters inclusiveness, promotes diversity and embraces the unique skills and qualities of all our employees. The strategy will be supported by an annual action plan which outlines how the objectives and priorities of the strategy will be achieved. The action plan lists success indicators that will be reported on and, as appropriate, revised annually to measure our progress.

The diversity of our staff is one of our greatest assets. Examples of diversity can include religious beliefs, caring responsibilities, age, sexual orientation, gender, cultural background, disability, education and language. By having a diverse workplace we will benefit from rich and challenging opportunities and experiences and better reflect the communities and businesses we serve.

When it comes to workplace diversity and inclusion we must remain focussed upon driving change within our department and beyond. Understanding our diversity and elevating our words into positive behaviours and action is an essential part of our department's working environment. By successfully implementing and annually reviewing the plan, we will continue to build and foster a confident work environment with increased productivity, creativity, innovation, knowledge and expertise.

I encourage you to not only read the Diversity Strategy and action plans, but to think about how you can best apply its principles and support its implementation in your workplace. Please discuss with your teams how you can contribute to building and fostering a diverse and inclusive workplace culture.

 

SIGNED

Daryl Quinlivan
Secretary


​​Department of Agriculture and Water Resources Diversity Strategy 2016 - 2018

This strategy complements and supports our People Strategy and Action Plan and our Reconciliation Action Plan.

Objectives

Priorities

Measures of Success

To foster a workforce that encourages and engages in diversity and is reflective of the Australian community it serves.

To ensure our employees are supported and have access to opportunities for growth and development within the workplace.

1. Provide a supportive work environment directed at eliminating disadvantages on the basis of:

  • being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • gender
  • race or ethnicity
  • disability
  • sexual orientation
  • age
  • caring responsibilities

2. Facilitate access to the department through employment opportunities for members of diversity groups that, from time to time, are identified as having an employment-related disadvantage.

3. Increase staff awareness and understanding of workplace diversity principles.

4. Increase employment of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in the department.

 

  • Increased or maintained level of participation in identified diversity groups.
  • Meet our commitment of 2.5 per cent employment rate for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples by 2018.
  • Retention rates for diversity groups are equal to or higher than the APS and departmental averages.
  • Increased or maintained engagement rates for diversity groups are equal to or higher than the APS rates measured by the annual APS Employee Census and annual Diversity Network Survey.

Our business

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs that ensure Australia’s agricultural, fisheries, food, forestry and water industries remain competitive, profitable and sustainable. Departmental staff are policy makers, researches, regulators and service providers in a complex on-shore and international operating environment. The department’s workforce of more than 4000 people operates in airports, mail centres, shipping ports, laboratories, abattoirs and offices and is located around Australia and overseas.

Diversity is an important priority in our People Strategy and we are committed to supporting a culture where everyone is treated fairly and with respect, and to ensuring our workforce is reflective of the Australian community we serve.

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources supports diversity through our Diversity Strategy and Action Plan as well as our:

  • Portfolio Multicultural Plan, which identifies our culturally and linguistically diverse stakeholders and how we can improve their interactions with the department and portfolio agencies.
  • Reconciliation Action Plan, which aims to continue building and maintaining relationships with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders and their communities, and outlines strategies to support and develop our Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employees.

This strategy focuses on attracting, recruiting and retaining a diverse workforce as well as cultivating a supportive workplace environment that encourages and engages in diversity.

Workplace diversity and inclusion

Workplace diversity and inclusion is everyone’s responsibility and all employees are expected to:

  • behave in a way that upholds the APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct
  • understand that harassment or discrimination is unacceptable
  • listen actively and communicate in a culturally appropriate manner
  • seek, welcome and respond to feedback
  • do their job well and support our colleagues to do the same by recognising the different needs, knowledge and backgrounds of others
  • provide information in accessible formats
  • respect the caring responsibilities of colleagues
  • support the diversity priorities outlined in our Diversity strategy.

Further information on the code of conduct is available through the department’s online Uphold Values and Principles eLearning module and the Australian Public Service Induction Program.

The APS Environment

The APS Environment There are a number of external drivers of workplace diversity, including the government’s priorities for diversity across the Australian Public Service. Key Australian Government initiatives include:

Workplace diversity and inclusion is governed by the following legislation:

2015–16  achievements

The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources implemented a number of diversity initiatives during 2015-16 including:  

Diversity Strategy Priority 1
  • Participated in a University of Canberra led project that identified the barriers to employment for People with a disability.
  • Held a successful cross-diversity network information sharing and planning workshop arranged by the Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CaLD) Network.
  • Moved to a decentralised model for the Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Employee Network to increase the opportunities for regional/operational members to participate.
Diversity Strategy Priority 2
  • Piloted an ‘All Abilities’ Employment Program that provided a non-ongoing employment opportunity to an intellectually disabled person at the new PEQ facility.
  • Participated in the Australian Network on Disability Internship Program to provide paid work experience to people with disability.
Diversity Strategy Priority 3
  • Implemented an Acknowledgement of Country signature block for departmental staff.
  • Increased completion rate for the Workplace Diversity and Inclusion eLearning module.
  • CaLD Network hosted a Get Wise seminar to support and recognise workplace diversity.
  • CaLD Network developed Strategy and Action Plan to increase staff awareness and understanding of CaLD people.
  • Presented to the SES cohort on the importance of employing people with a disability.
  • Established a Pride Network that aims to increase awareness and to create a workplace that openly values and supports Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersex (LGBTI) employees. A senior executive service level employee was appointed as the network Champion.
  • Became a member of Pride in Diversity - Australia’s first and only national not-for-profit employer support program for all aspects of LGBTI workplace inclusion.
  • Actively celebrated significant diversity events including:
    • National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week
    • International Day of People with a Disability
    • Harmony Day
    • Carers Week
    • SpringOUT festival in Canberra and Pride March in Melbourne.
Diversity Strategy Priority 4
  • Utilised the Indigenous Australian Government Development Programme (IAGDP) to provide career development opportunities for two Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employees in the department.
  • Recruited one Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander graduate and one trainee through the APS Indigenous Pathways Program.

The revised action plan lists diversity priorities for the department during 2016-17 to continue to support a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Measuring success

The department will monitor milestones and success indicators and report annually to its People, Safety and Culture Committee.

Action Plan 2016-17

Diversity Priority 1

Provide a supportive work environment directed at eliminating employment-related disadvantages on the basis of:

    • being Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
    • gender
    • race or ethnicity
    • disability
    • sexual orientation
    • age
    • caring responsibilities
Increase OutputAction/sLead Area WhenSuccess Indicators
1.1

Reasonable Adjustment Passport

 

  • Implement a Reasonable Adjustment Passport tailored to the department. This will provide employees who have an injury, ill health or a disability the opportunity to document any form of agreed assistance or adjustments in or around the workplace to reduce or eliminate barriers to work.
People Services and People Capability Branches
(Assistant Secretaries)
September 2016
  • Employees utilising Reasonable Adjustment Passports and providing positive feedback.
  • Employees state that the agency genuinely cares about employees being healthy and safe at work measured by the annual APS Employee Census.
1.2Employer of choice for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersexed (LGBTI) people
  • Prepare a departmental submission to be included on the Australian Workplace Equality Index (AWEI).
People Capability Branch
(Assistant Secretary)
July 2016
  • Increased participation in the department's LGBTI Pride Network.
  • Increase in employees reporting they feel the workplace is supportive of LGBTI staff measured by the annual Diversity Network Survey.
1.3Leadership development programmes for women
  • Increase access to women in leadership development programmes, with a special focus on areas affected by gender imbalance.
People Capability Branch
(Assistant Secretary)
May 2017
  • Women feel supported and encouraged in the workplace measured by the annual Diversity Network Survey and annual APS Employee Census.
1.4 Keeping in Touch Program
  • Review and implement a Keeping in  Touch program for employees on extended leave to ensure they feel supported and informed whilst on leavecA and as they return to work.
People Services and People Capability Branches
(Assistant Secretaries)
April 2017
  • Employees feel communication within their agency is effective as measured by the annual APS Employee Census.

Diversity Priority 2

Facilitate access to the department through employment opportunities for members of diversity groups that, from time to time, are identified as having an employment-related disadvantage.

 OutputActionLead Area WhenSuccess Indicators
2.1Recruitability
  • Trial the 'Recruitability' scheme for the department's 2017 Graduate Development Program recruitment campaign.
People Capability Branch
(Assistant Secretary)
November 2016
  • Increased or maintained level of participation in employment of people with disability.
2.2Diversity balance in departmental recruitment and retention practices
  • Review departmental recruitment and retention practices that ensure diversity balance – including building capability to address unconscious bias and commitment to appropriate diversity balance on panels where possible.

People Services and People Capability Branches
(Assistant Secretaries)

 

June 2017
  • Increase in employees reporting they feel the agency is committed to creating a diverse workforce measured by the APS Employee Census.

Diversity Priority 3

Increase staff awareness and understanding of workplace diversity principles.

 OutputActionLead Area WhenSuccess Indicators
3.1Cultural awareness
  • Review the department's Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness and Workplace Diversity and Inclusion eLearning Packages.
  • Implement the CaLD Strategy and Action Plan to increase staff awareness and understanding of CaLD people.

People Capability Branch
(Assistant Secretary)

 

 

CaLD Network

(CaLD Champion)

November 2016

 

 

December 2016

 

  • Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness and Workplace Diversity and Inclusion eLearning Packages updated.
  • Increased completion rate for the Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Cultural Awareness

    eLearning module.
  • Increased number of employees believe that the agency is committed to creating a diverse workforce measured by the annual APS Employee Census.
3.2Cultural call centre
  • Investigate utilisation of the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre's Cultural Call Centre initiative.
People Capability Branch
(Assistant Secretary)
August 2016
  • Increased number of employees believe that the agency is committed to creating a diverse workforce measured by the annual APS Employee Census.

Diversity Priority 4

Increase employment of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people in the department.

 OutputActionLead Area WhenSuccess Indicators
4.1Reconciliation Action Plan
  • Develop and implement a new Reconciliation Action Plan to incorporate the department's Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy.
People Capability Branch
(Assistant Secretary)
July 2016
  • Employees are aware of the department's commitment to reconciliation and Aboriginal and/or Strait Islander stakeholders provide positive feedback on business relationships.
  • Increased number of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employees state they have a supportive workplace, and enjoy their current job measured by the annual APS Employee Census.
4.2Alternative employment pathways
  • Utilise a broader range of entry level employment programmes (then in 2015) and targeted general recruitment to help the department achieve its Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employment target of 2.5% by 2018.
People Capability Branch
(Assistant Secretary)
November 2016
  • Increased employment rate for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people.
4.3Career development
  • Investigate Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait islander leadership courses to provide Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employees with the knowledge, skills and behaviours to enable them to take on leadership roles in the department.
People Capability Branch
(Assistant Secretary)
March 2017
  • Increased number of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander employees are satisfied with the opportunities for career progression measured by the annual APS Employee Census.