27 September 2023

Airforce Indigenous plan takes off

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Indigenous Liaison Officer, Flight Lieutenant Tjapukai Shaw at the new strategy launch.

The Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel has launched a new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander strategy and action plan for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

The Minister, Darren Chester said the strategy, Our Place, Our Skies 2019-2028 outlines the RAAF’s commitments to the Defence Reconciliation Acting Plan (D-RAP) 2-19-2022, which focuses on improving retention and career development opportunities for Defence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel.

“The Our Place, Our Skies strategy describes how Air Force is investing in its workforce culture, by recognising and increasing the contribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Mr Chester said.

He said the action plan was a companion to the Air Force’s Common Ground plan.

“Air Force is building its capability through a range of recruitment, retention, cultural awareness and community engagement programs, which are captured in Common Ground,” he said.

“These programs are driving Air Force efforts to reach an Indigenous participation rate of five per cent by 2025.

The Minister said the RAAF had implemented a network of Indigenous Liaison Officers (ILO) to lead and enhance Indigenous engagement in their home communities.

“The Exercise Kummundoo program, which delivers health services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, will continue for a further five years under an extended agreement between Air Force and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO),” Mr Chester said.

“Through an extensive Indigenous Cultural Education Framework, Air Force will ensure its personnel have opportunities to learn about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture of the areas in which they operate, including local cultural immersion programs.”

Chief of the Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld said that increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contribution within the RAAF was critical to developing its workforce and enhancing Defence’s overall capability through inclusion.

“Diversity and inclusion creates a more productive and efficient workforce,” Air Marshal Hupfeld said.

Our Place, Our Skies and Common Ground outline how Air Force will call on the unique skill sets, knowledge and perspectives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to strengthen our workforce culture.”

The 18 page strategy and action plan can be accessed at this PS News link.

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