THERE is a new resource available to assist employers wanting to hire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Developed through an alliance of the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) and the Business Council of Australia (BCA), the publication Targeted recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – A guideline for employers helps give potential employers information on how to develop targeted recruitment strategies.

“Despite efforts to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage, the disparity between employment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non-Indigenous Australians has increased in recent years,” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda said. 

“Less than half of working-age Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are employed, compared to over three quarters of non-Indigenous Australians. Increasingly, employers are seeking to create employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through targeted recruitment strategies,” Mr Gooda said.

Targeted recruitment strategies include measures such as reserving positions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander applicants; guaranteed interview schemes; work placements or mentoring programs; and engaging an Indigenous recruitment service to hire employees.

“These guidelines will assist employers by giving them the certainty they need to develop targeted recruitment strategies without concern about breaching discrimination laws,” BCA chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“Three quarters of Business Council companies have an Indigenous employment strategy – showing us the commitment is there. But commitment to creating opportunities is one thing, it’s equally important to have an enabling recruitment environment.

“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,” Ms Westacott said.




Download the publication here.


THE second Indigenous Property Rights Roundtable in Broome in early 2016 sounded loud-and-clear on the future economic value that will come out of property rights for Indigenous communities.

Participants in the Broome meeting overwhelmingly agreed that while there had been an expansion of the Indigenous Estate since the commencement of the Native Title Act, it had not delivered development opportunities or sustainable outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“Native title is only the starting point for our people in reclaiming land,” Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner Mick Gooda said. “The next step is being able to freely exercise our rights to promote economic development, maintain land for cultural purposes and achieve the social outcomes like proper housing for our communities.” 

The Australian Human Rights Commission has welcomed the announcement by Attorney-General George Brandis to commit funding towards the work of the Indigenous Property Rights Network which follows up on work commenced at the Indigenous Property Rights Roundtable in Broome. 

Human Rights Commissioner at the time of the announcement Tim Wilson – who has since resigned to contest the Federal seat of Goldstein – said the Federal Government had listened to the views of Roundtable participants and recognised the importance of property rights in achieving economic development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

“The Federal Government’s financial support is a welcome commitment to this process, designed to increase the opportunities for Indigenous Australians to use their land for economic development,” Mr Wilson said.

“Improving the freedom for Indigenous Australians to exercise their property rights is essential to improving economic development opportunities and achieving a better future for Indigenous Australians.”

Mr Gooda said positive engagement with government was crucial to the reform process.

“The Broome Roundtable provided an opportunity for us to talk though the challenges to economic development after native title has been determined, and begin to identify real solutions,” Mr Gooda said.

“We are seeking constructive reform that is respectful of native title and protects the inherent rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. We require ongoing dialogue with government, and respectful engagement, in order to deliver meaningful outcomes for our people.”

The first Indigenous Property Rights Network meeting was held on Yawuru country in Broome in May 2015.



FIRST NATIONS artists and arts workers from Australia, New Zealand and Canada will come together to share knowledge and networks this month as part of the Australian Performing Arts Market (APAM) in Brisbane.

APAM 2016 will be held from February 22 to 26 and will feature 43 outstanding Australian and New Zealand companies presenting 28 exciting showcases, including full-length productions and excerpts, as well as 15 work in development pitches.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander companies taking part in APAM 2016 include Western Australian dance company Marrugeku, Northern Territory dance group Djuki Mala, performing arts company Black Arm Band, and Melbourne’s ILBIJERRI Theatre Company.

Australia Council chief executive officer Tony Grybowski said the council would this year host two development programs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists and arts workers alongside APAM 2016 – the inaugural First Nations arts exchange and a skills development 'boot camp' program.

Mr Grybowski said the two-day exchange would enable knowledge and ideas sharing between First Nations’ delegates working in all three countries and build strong connections, while the day-long boot camp "will equip artists and arts workers with limited experience of APAM with the tools they need to get the most out of the four-day market".

“The Australia Council established APAM in 1994 and it continues to be the only industry event in Australia to provide international and national presenters, agents and influencers with access to live works by Australian and New Zealand artists across genres and cultural backgrounds, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts,” Mr Grybowski said.

“It is extremely important for our artists to make strategic international connections.  APAM provides Australian artists and arts organisations a unique opportunity to perform live to an international and national industry audience, introduce the artistic creator and increase awareness for their company and body of work, with the ultimate aim of securing national and international tours.

“The First Nations exchange and boot camp are initiatives of the council’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts strategy and builds on the success of other council-managed initiatives at other industry events, such as APAM 2014, Australian World Music Expo 2014, BIGSOUND 2015 and the 2015 Australian Performing Arts Centres Association conference.

“We are delighted that several state arts agencies, the Canada Council for the Arts and Creative New Zealand have partnered with us to support artists and producers from their region to attend the APAM boot camp and First Nations exchange," Mr Grybowski said.

“The aim of these programs is to help the First Nations arts community engage in and access markets, form partnerships and collaborations, and enable more national and international presenters, programmers, producers and buyers to see export-ready works and creators.

“The importance of this investment has been confirmed by recent international arts activity research that highlighted the key role played by Australia Council expertise, networks and introductions in connecting Australian artists and arts organisations with international markets.”

The inaugural First Nations exchange will bring together 18 First Nations artists and arts workers from Australia, Canada and New Zealand, while the boot camp will involve 17 participants.

The exchange is the second in a partnership between the Australia Council, Canada Council for the Arts and Creative New Zealand after a similar event was held for First Nations curators at the 8th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT8) at QAGOMA, Brisbane in November. This is the second time a boot camp has been held at APAM with support from state arts agencies.

APAM 2014 saw 19 Indigenous artists and arts workers participate in boot camp, including Melbourne Indigenous Arts Festival creative director and ILBIJERRI associate producer Jacob Boehme.

Mr Boehme said at first he found boot camp a struggle as he wasn’t familiar with the language used to promote an artists’ work.

“Most artists don’t know sector or industry speak, but once you get past that and realise there’s nothing to fear about that side of the business, it was really empowering,” Mr Boehme said.

“The boot camp gave us the tools to create a life beyond a premiere and advice on where my work would be a better fit – your livelihood depends on knowing that stuff.”

Mr Boehme said networking was also an important part of the boot camp and APAM experience.

“I made a number of connections and the boot camp gave me the confidence to do that and to view people as friends and colleagues,” Mr Boehme said.

Mr Boehme said Australia Council initiatives, such as the APAM boot camp, were important for artists.

“Knowledge is power and it leads to more informed choices and it gives you choice,” Mr Boehme said.

Mr Boehme advised this year’s participants to remember to breathe and relax during boot camp.

“Take everything in, and take on what your gut tells you to do, as you know what’s right for you.”

The Australian First Nations exchange participants are: Jacob Boehme, Kyle Morrison, Alison Murphy-Oates, Rachael Maza, Liza-Mare Syron, Lily Shearer, Diat Alferink, and Merindah Donnelly.

The boot camp participants are Ghenoa Gela, Ian RT Colless, Mariaa Randall, Nathan Maynard, Jermaine Beezley, Fred Leone, Getano Bann, Angela Flynn, Coby Edgar and Pauline Lampton.




OCTOBER has been declared National Indigenous Business Month throughout Australia.

The move came out of a meeting of Indigenous entrepreneurs who took part in the MURRA Indigenous Business Masterclass program at Melbourne Business School (MBS) earlier this year. 

The Indigenous Business Month initiative is driven by MURRA alumni who see business as a way of providing positive role models for young Indigenous Australians.

“We want kids to see that their future lies not just in arts and sport,” MURRA program director and associate professor Michelle Evans said.

“Business also requires creativity and provides a path to community growth and individual aspirations.”

The group of MURRA alumni decided the best way they could promote the cause would be to showcase Indigenous businesses countrywide, launching the October National Indigenous Business Month and finding the backing for it.

“Indigenous businesses have a great story to tell,” the MURRA alumni said in a joint statement. They said they were “tired of the image of Indigenous communities. It’s not who we are. We contribute so much and have the capacity to do so much more, not just for our community but also the wider community.”

The month features a series of events across Australia including the Sydney launch breakfast on October 1; a Brisbane networking breakfast on October 8; IndigIdeas Pitchfest on October 9 in Melbourne; Melbourne networking breakfast on October 16; and the Canberra networking breakfast on October 22.

There is also a virtual event with Prof. Ian Williamson and associate Prof. Michelle Evans showcasing research in Indigenous leadership on October 29.

The Indigenous Business Month aims to have Indigenous businesses leading the conversation around Indigenous business development.

“It will showcase the variety, depth and skill of the Indigenous business sector and to break down stereotypes,” a MURRI alumni spokesperson said.

“Most of all, it aims to encourage young Indigenous people to think of developing business as a career”.

The month is being supported by Indigenous Business Australia, 33 Creative, Asia Pacific Social Impact Centre at MBS, PwC’s Indigenous Consulting, the City of Sydney, Commonwealth Bank and MURRA alumni.



INDIGENOUS artists combined with current and alumni fashion designers from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Creative Enterprise Australia (CEA) Fashion Incubator Program to steal much of the limelight at both the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week and Australian Indigenous Fashion Week shows earlier this year.

The AKIN Collection was developed in conjunction with CEA’s Fashion Incubator designers and indigenous artists. The full collection was on show at Indigenous Fashion Week along with new work by Tatum Stanbury, recipient of CEA Indigenous Fashion Design Scholarship.

Hayley Elsaesser is currently working in the CEA Fashion Incubator and her vibrant Redneck Nostalgia collection was also shown. 

The AKIN Collection was produced under the fashion label, Multistory, created by the CEA Fashion Incubator to launch and sell in-house collaborative fashion and design projects.

Multistory’s AKIN Collection was produced as part of the Contemporary Indigenous Fashion Project, funded by Arts Queensland through the Backing Indigenous Arts program to bring the work of Indigenous artists to the attention of the fashion industry.

CEA Fashion Incubator Stitch Lab client, Gail Sorronda, collaborated with Disney and Queensland Ballet to create a new collection inspired by The Little Mermaid for the coming season. 

Both Ms Elsaesser and Ms Sorronda are QUT Fashion alumni.

Australian Indigenous Fashion Week is a new event on the fashion calendar that aims to showcase the creative talents of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from all over Australia.


See Hayley Elsaesser’s collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.

See Gail’s Sorronda’s collection at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week.


Pictured are Australian Indigenous Fashion Week ambassadors all wearing AKIN dresses, from left Lilla Conradson wearing the Comb-print dress created by Hayley Elasesser and Sharon Phineasa; Indigenous Model Search finalist Sinead Grehan (centre) in a Bushfire-print created by Margaret Mara and Samantha Delgos; and  Samantha Harris wearing the Cassowary-print dress created by Napolean Oui and Georgia Grainger. Image from QUT: Dan Himbrechts, AAP.



ABORIGINAL and Torres Strait Islander leaders have called on the Federal Government to work with them on pursuing economic development on native title land and commit resources to this process.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, Mick Gooda and Human Rights Commissioner, Tim Wilson convened a meeting of Indigenous leaders in Broome in May to explore the challenges and opportunities of property rights after native title. 

Participants of the Indigenous Leaders Roundtable determined that the Australian Human Rights Commission should lead and facilitate ongoing dialogue on these issues.

“Many participants of the roundtable voiced their disappointment in what the native title system has delivered in the past 20 years,” Mr Gooda said.

“They expressed concern about the limited outcomes from current processes for recognising and protecting our peoples' rights to land and resources, citing the closure of WA communities as an example.”
Commissioner Wilson said the Australian Human Rights Commission would continue to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders to progress reform.

“We will represent the voices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Canberra and to the nation to advance respect for your property rights and economic development outcomes,” Mr Wilson said.

“We will represent what Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples achieve and to remove the obstacles that stop self determination being realised.

“We call on government to also work with us and to recognise the importance of property rights in achieving economic development for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”

Commissioner Gooda said any proposals from the Indigenous Leaders Roundtable would require the consent of native title holders before being implemented.

“We are committed towards achieving constructive reform that is respectful of native title and protects the inherent rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” he said.

Attorney-General George Brandis also attended the roundtable to hear from participants their concerns about native title and property rights.

“We appreciate the Attorney-General attending and genuinely listening to the views of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Mr Gooda said.

“We hope the participation of the Attorney-General in this meeting is a sign of constructive engagement in the future on these issues. The meeting expressed a clear intention to continue their dialogue with government and we welcome the Attorney-General's agreement to do so,” Mr Wilson said.

The Indigenous Leaders Roundtable called on Government to engage with them on the following issues:

  • Enabling communities to build on their underlying communal title to create opportunities for economic development.
  • Ensuring that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have the governance and risk management skills and capacity to successfully engage in business and manage their estates.
  • Financing economic development within the Indigenous estate, including developing financial products to underwrite economic development.
  • Rectifying the existing unfair processes for compensation for extinguishment of native title and considering how addressing unfinished business could leverage economic development opportunities.
  • Promoting opportunities for development on Indigenous land including identifying options to provide greater access to resources on the Indigenous estate.


For more information or to read the roundtable communique visit https://www.humanrights.gov.au/our-work/rights-and-freedoms/projects/indigenous-leaders-roundtable-economic-development



A SPECIAL conference devoted to Indigenous men is being staged in Cairns on October 13-15.

Indigenous Conference Services has developed the 2014 National Indigenous Men Conference in cooperation with MEES (Australia), with inspiring guest speakers from different states and territories of Australia.

An Indigenous Conference Services spokesperson said the overwhelming response of the Call for Papers clearly indicated the devoted  interests of organisations and individuals working to improve Indigenous men’s services. 

More than 70 percent of the submitted papers were from community based organisations.

Among the featured speakers is Steve Widders, the current Aboriginal community liaison officer of Armidale Dumaresq Council in New South Wales.

Although declared medically and legally blind by the late professor Fred Hollows at age 35, Mr Widders sees himself as a “man of vision” and he prefers to talk of his ‘ability’ rather than his disability. He is a descendant of the Anaiwan/Kamiloaroi people of Northern NSW.

John Riley, the community counsellor and development officer of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, will be at the conference sharing the story of how the Wik Warrior’s Men’s Group breaks the cycle of Aurukun’s males passing away without the opportunity to pass on their tribal knowledge to younger generations.

A wealth of experience has come forward to present papers and many of these people will present at the conference.

Jack Bulman is the CEO of Mibbinbah who will be co-presenting with Dr Rick Hayes on The Mibbinbah Mad Bastard’s Guide: Be The Best You Can Be, an award winning outreach program that builds on the success of the movie,Mad Bastards.

Andrew Thorp, the men’s project manager of Beyondblue, will be presenting on The Proppa Deadly Project which aims to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take action against depression and anxiety through the telling of their own stories across Australia’s Indigenous community radio sector.

Terry Thommeny, the program officer of Royal Flying Doctors Service Queensland will be presenting an outline of a Baliner’s perspective to aged and senior males in Indigenous community. Mr Thommeny has a degree in nursing communication and is finishing his master’s degree in public health.

Jimmy Perry is the project officer of Aboriginal Drug and Alcohol Council (SA) Inc. and he will be presenting  on the Making Track Project. This is a mobile substance misuse program assisting Aboriginal communities in rural and remote parts of South Australia.

Madhu Panthee, the family violence mediation program coordinator of the Yuendumu Mediation and Justice Committee, in the Central Desert Regional Council NT, will be highlighting the impact of the Yuendumu Family Violence Mediation Program model in reducing violent confrontations among family feuds in Yuendumu and across Warlpiri region.

Kit Karunaratne, the ICT manager of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) based in ACT, will be showcasing a vision which looks at the emergence of a new information technology as a support service to break down cultural communication barriers in remote communities.

Government and non-government organisations are participating in choosing the agenda and as delegates as well.

The conference is a major forum for sharing of information on successful Indigenous men programs existing and being implemented all over Australia and interagency networking at a local, state and national level.




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