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The Inclusion Strategy 2021–2023 outlines our continued commitment to ensure our department remains an inclusive place for people to work while embracing and celebrating all differences. This commitment will enable us to achieve our vision to support economic growth and job creation for all Australians.

Introduction

Since 2017, the department has taken several steps to establish structures and activities that recognise the value of inclusion, connected networks, respectful workplace behaviours, and a unified vision. This strategy will continue this work to strengthen the department’s employee value proposition and to achieve our ambition of being the best possible place to work. This will position the department as an employer of choice, and improve the attraction, development, and retention of employees from diverse groups. By doing so we aim to foster an inclusive environment that welcomes all employees so that everyone feels not only valued but also has a sense of belonging.

As a department we are future-looking to ensure we have the skills needed to apply technology purposefully and effectively in our work. Long-term trends suggest support for flexible work and work-life balance will remain vital to attracting and retaining top talent.

The impacts of COVID-19 on our department have been considered in the development of this strategy. During 2020 we transformed the way we work as a department resulting in the majority of our employees working out of the office for a period of time. This required our department to take a fresh look at how we foster inclusion to improve collaboration, productivity, culture, and the overall employee experience.

Creating a culture that supports our inclusive blended workforce is critical to ensure all employees continue to feel welcome, included and engaged as they continue to adapt to new ways of working.

The strategy will raise awareness about the importance of inclusion and diversity and continue us on our evolving journey of making sure employees are able to flourish in a working environment based on acceptance, openness and respect for others.

Key priorities and alignment

Over the next 3 years our department’s key priorities will include a renewed focus on holistic approaches to support:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
  • gender
  • disability inclusion
  • LGBTIQA+ inclusion
  • cultural and linguistic diversity
  • flexible work arrangements
  • multi-generational employment strategies

As such, the strategy considers whole-of-government diversity strategies including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy 2020-2024
  • Disability Employment Strategy 2020-2025
  • Gender Equality Strategy 2021-2025

The strategy also supports the objectives of our department’s:

Purpose

The strategy’s purpose is to:

  • set clear expectations of leadership behaviours to promote inclusion and diversity
  • ensure visibility of key activities undertaken across the department to foster diversity, inclusion, and belonging
  • establish clear actions to be taken over the next 3 years to build on the progress to date
  • define what success will look like, and how we will hold ourselves to account as an organisation for achieving it

Aims

The strategy aims to allow all employees to fully participate in the workplace and have access to opportunities by:

  • removing barriers
  • applying inclusive thinking to how we access and participate in labour markets
  • adopting virtual engagement technologies and content

There is greater diversity today at our department by gender, ethnicity, race and sexual orientation than 3 years ago at the entry and supervisory levels. However more work still needs to be done to attract and retain this talent and offer meaningful career pathways.

Focus areas

Our strategy outlines a vision for harnessing and building on diversity and fostering inclusion by focussing on 5 areas and goals.

Our departmental values are central to promoting a culture of respect, understanding and inclusion. As such, the values are built into the focus areas:

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