The Premier was delighted to welcome participants of the 2019 Aboriginal Frontline Leadership Course at their orientation sessions. Run by the South Australian Leadership Academy, the course is for Aboriginal employees who want to transition to leading a team, or for new managers wanting to build management capability.
Thank you, Commissioner Ranieri, for inviting me to open this Aboriginal Frontline Leadership Program.
And thank you Michael O’Brien for your warm welcome to Country.
I too acknowledge we are meeting on the traditional lands of the Kaurna people and that we respect their spiritual relationship with their country.
Let me first congratulate all of you for being nominated by your agencies to participate in this important leadership program.
All of you have been chosen for your leadership potential.
I am sure you have a lot to offer the public sector and the wider community we in government all serve.
Like you, I want to help make a real improvement in the lives of Aboriginal people.
It was one of the reasons that as Premier, I took responsibility for the aboriginal affairs and reconciliation portfolio.
Another was that as Premier, I have greater capacity to drive the work that is needed right across government.
I’m delighted to see that there are 15 separate agencies with participants in this Program.
Because it’s not just one or two agencies that can make the difference.
As I’ve told my ministerial colleagues, all agencies need to step up.
But we will make real improvements only with the commitment and dedication of our workforce.
That’s why this program is very important.
It will further develop the leadership skills of our Aboriginal public sector workforce.
This is vital if we are going to lift our service delivery and accessibility.
While increasing Aboriginal representation across all levels of government ensures that much more of our decision making has the benefit of an Aboriginal lens.
Two months ago, the Government released an action plan to deliver positive, on-the-ground results through 32 specific activities over the next two years.
The plan was developed following engagement with Aboriginal community leaders and a co-ordinated, across government effort.
Each of the 32 activities seeks to combine the skills, knowledge and resources of the public sector with the ideas and priorities of Aboriginal people and communities.
The Action Plan has three overall objectives:
- To create opportunities for Aboriginal jobs and businesses
- Improve the quality and the delivery of services to Aboriginal people
- Build strong and capable Aboriginal communities.
The Plan is a public document. It is on the DPC website. It identifies the Minister and lead agency responsible for each activity.
We’ve done that to enhance accountability for achievement of the Plan.
There will be regular public updates on our progress.
This will mean that we can identify what is working and just as importantly, what isn’t working.
In this way, we will create a benchmark for continuous improvement in government policies and in the programs and services Aboriginal people and communities receive.
Aboriginal Employment in the Public Sector
The action plan also continues the focus on increasing the employment of Aboriginal South Australians in the public sector.
It sets a target of at least 100 new Aboriginal two-year traineeships followed by ongoing employment.
There will also be additional employment opportunities through Ranger positions in our national and conservation parks, fisheries officers to support delivery of a State-wide Aboriginal Fishing and Aquaculture Program and lifting the proportion of Aboriginal people working in SAPOL.
These initiatives build upon the progress being made to increase Aboriginal employment in the public sector.
As at 30 June 2018, there were 2,154 employees in the South Australian public sector who identified themselves as Aboriginal, representing 1.99 percent of the government’s workforce.
This was an increase of 7.3 percent over 12 months in the number identifying as Aboriginal, compared with growth of just over two per cent in the overall public sector workforce.
The data tells us that our public sector now has its highest number of Aboriginal employees on record.
Aboriginal Frontline Leadership Program
As well as recruiting Aboriginal South Australians, our public sector is committed to supporting employees at each stage of their development.
That is why this program you are embarking on matters.
Firstly, it supports you as new or aspiring managers to be confident and successful leaders in the public sector.
Secondly, this program is an investment by the public sector in its Aboriginal employees.
As Premier, I want the graduates of this program to take another step on the journey to a successful career and to be proud role models for Aboriginal South Australians.
One such role model is April Lawrie, who you will hear from today.
April is an outstanding public servant.
My Government was delighted to appoint her as the inaugural Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People last October.
In this role April is administering health, education, child protection and justice policies to improve the lives of Aboriginal children and young people.
This is a major responsibility – one that will make a real difference to the lives of Aboriginal South Australians.
I urge each and every one of the 24 participants in this Program to aspire to roles like the one April has taken.
I am sure that what you learn from this Program will inspire you to reach high and achieve your career goals.
I wish you all the best on your continuing journey.