Aboriginal Affairs members' meeting: Functional Review - Public Service Association

Aboriginal Affairs members’ meeting: Functional Review

Thank you to those members who were able to attend the meeting on 14 September to provide feedback into the consultation process for the Functional Review of Aboriginal Affairs.

Below is a summary of the concerns raised in the meeting that will form part of the PSAs submission.

Human Resources

While it is understood that Aboriginal Affairs is part of the Premier’s Department and that the Human Resources functions for the agency are supported through People and Culture, there is a shared view across PSA members that more specific support could be provided to Aboriginal Affairs.

Key areas of concern raised are:

  1. Recruitment
  2. A better and clearer path for professional/career development and it is not being adequately supported in the structure. There were concerns raised to a more recent development where Aboriginal Affairs was not overly involved in the development of the Positions Descriptions
  3. Govconnect is a shared irritant for all who have any payroll and other relevant HR type issues
  4. Overall feeling of a lack of support.

As such, the PSA would recommend that where possible there should be an additional focus for a senior executive within Aboriginal Affairs to have oversight of this.


A similar concern was raised also with the relationship between Aboriginal Affairs and the broader Premier’s Department when it came to procurement. There is some understanding that this issue is being addressed with an additional Director within the Deputy Secretary’s office but further discussion and clarification around this would be appreciated.

Identified roles

This has been a long-standing concern of the PSA and raised in a number of Joint Consultative Committees. PSA members are supportive of seeing Aboriginal Affairs as a lead agency in this area and having an important part in delivery of the NSW Government’s Aboriginal Employment Strategy.

The PSA would be supportive of a return to having at least 50 per cent of the roles within Aboriginal Affairs as identified or targeted.

There are some concerns that the proposed structure due to current systems (Govconnect) is not correctly showing the identified roles within Aboriginal Affairs.

Cultural safety and awareness

There was strong agreement amongst members as to the need for better cultural safety and awareness across the agency particularly in recruitment for non-identified roles where both Federal and Queensland State systems were referenced as having better systems in place for the recruitment of non-Indigenous persons.

It was conveyed by the members that there should be a much clearer understanding of cultural awareness/cultural competency, especially for those in non-identified senior roles.

Administration support

It was noted that there was very little administration support in the model and the lack of these roles denies an entry-level position into AA.

Transparency around recruitment: Expressions of interest and talent pools

Members are not opposed to the use of expressions of interest (EOIs) as part of the recruitment process. However, they did emphasis the need for appropriate accountability and transparency around the recruitment processes. Further clarification is also sought regarding areas where people who may already be in talent pools fit into the recruitment process.

Next meeting and feedback to the PSA

PSA Delegates and Industrial Staff have a further meeting with Aboriginal Affairs management this Thursday 21 September prior to the end of the consultation period.

Again, members are encouraged to engage in the consultation process and are welcome to provide feedback to the PSA.

A further report back to members will be provided following that meeting.

Your PSA Delegates

Erica Smits

Carlo Svagelli     

Lee Lazarevic     

Ross Bennett     

PSA industrial staff

Simon van Vegchel Senior Industrial Officer

Claudia Bianchi Organiser


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