• (L to R) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda; Australian Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs; legal firm Ashurst partner Stephen Woodbury; and Business Council of Australia chief executive Jennifer Westacott. (Australian Human Rights Commission)Source: Australian Human Rights Commission
Employers wanting to address disadvantage in the workplace and hire more Indigenous staff can now access greater guidance, following the launch of a new resource from the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Business Council of Australia.
By
NITV Staff Writer

5 Nov 2015 - 4:31 PM  UPDATED 6 Nov 2015 - 2:46 PM

The Targeted recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People guide, released last week, aims to help close the employment gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians by providing employers who want to recruit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers with greater clarity about discrimination law.

The publication provides a ‘101’for employers to understand why exemptions to workplace discrimination laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are essential. It also offers information on targeted Reconciliation Action Plans.

“The employment gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians has in fact widened in recent years,” said Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda, and Race Discrimination Commissioner, Dr Tim Soutphommasane in a statement.

“Unfortunately, there is some misunderstanding that discrimination laws are an obstacle to addressing the inequality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in employment.

“...We believe this is an important resource for employers seeking to advance the rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples."

According to the Prime Minister’s most recent Closing the Gap report, the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people aged 15-64 years who are employed fell to 47.5 per cent in 2012-13, while the proportion of non-Indigenous Australians who are employed increased to 75.6 per cent.

“Unfortunately, there is some misunderstanding that discrimination laws are an obstacle to addressing the inequality experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in employment.”

A recent Business Council of Australia (BCA) Indigenous engagement survey showed that 85 per cent of BCA members are now involved in Indigenous engagement activities, only 70 per cent have an Indigenous employment strategy.

“…Commitment to creating opportunities is one thing, it’s equally important to have an enabling recruitment environment,” BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“This guide, endorsed by all state and territory discrimination authorities, helps create that environment. This means employers are better positioned to help close the employment gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous Australians."