Although this is our first RAP, our commitment to diversity and inclusion isn’t new. Over the past few years, we’ve put a lot of focus on creating an inclusive culture and building a diverse workforce that includes a balance of genders, cultures, backgrounds and perspectives.
We know what gets measured gets done so we’ve been tracking our progress towards achieving the targets and outcomes of the NSW Public Sector Aboriginal Employment Strategy. This includes increasing the number of Aboriginal people working in Transport at all levels, doubling the number of Aboriginal senior leaders and creating a talent pipeline for the future.
We’ve established targeted high school scholarships and apprenticeships as well as a Vocational Education and Training Cadet program to attract more young Aboriginal people to come and work at Transport.
We’ve run workshops and events to build understanding and respect for Aboriginal culture and put in place an Aboriginal Career Development and Mentoring program to create a pathway for Aboriginal people already working at Transport to move into more senior positions.
We’ve made progress towards achieving our targets but there’s still a long way to go. Fiona McLean from the People Strategy and Organisational Effectiveness team said, the RAP goes beyond just employment.
“It’s really important that we continue to provide employment for Aboriginal people, particularly in regional areas where it can have a flow on effect to the whole community, but there are lots of other ways Transport can make a difference.
“If we just look at the service delivery side of things, providing transport that connects Aboriginal communities with jobs, education, health and other services can be the key to breaking the cycle of disadvantage, particularly in remote areas.
“The Transport cluster also has the opportunity to play an important role in building relationships, understanding and respect between Aboriginal and non‑Aboriginal people so we can move forward together.
“To bring all this together, our RAP has been developed around the pillars of building genuine relationships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, building mutual trust and respect both inside and outside of our organisation, and creating business and employment opportunities for Aboriginal people,” Fiona said.
Aboriginal culture is the oldest continuous culture in the world and there is much to learn from understanding and celebrating the traditions and history of Australia’s First Peoples.
That’s the idea behind the Bark Canoe Project, which brought our staff together with Aboriginal communities to build a 3.5 metre bark canoe using age-old methods of combining ochre with bark from the blue gum stringybark tree.
The project recognised Aboriginal people’s connections to NSW waterways that date back many thousands of years and also provided an opportunity to encourage Aboriginal people to seek a career in the maritime sector.
The canoe now forms part of a permanent maritime display in the Rozelle office foyer and there are plans to expand the project to other regions and offices to raise awareness of boating safety and licensing issues faced by Aboriginal communities.
Healing the past
Truthfully and respectfully acknowledging our shared history is an important part of reconciliation and it's our responsibility.
As part of this process, we are establishing memorials to the Stolen Generations at sites of significance across the network.
The first of these, a plaque which was recently unveiled at Central Station, recognises the fact that Platform 1 was the place where many children arrived after having been taken from their families. The children were then separated from their siblings and sent on to institutions throughout the state.