The Symposium was held on 29 August 2022, and was led by and for First Nations people. The purpose was to canvas ideas and concepts for the Alliance for our submission to the Federal Government’s White Paper on employment, and consider items for action for the Alliance moving forward.
First Nations People’s experiences of the labour and employment markets have primarily been narrated through non-First Nations voices, often during election cycles and further complicated by diversity, inclusion and human resource sector practices and attitudes imposed upon First Nations Peoples.
Approaches are adopted as policy and practice based on attitudes, practices and policies imposed upon First Nations Peoples rather than allowing us to self-determine our future of work based on our own experiences.
The Symposium formally launched the Alliance, listened to mob and established a work plan and strategy to explore the future of First Nations employment that is First Nations-led and implemented.
To date, a raft of government and corporate efforts rely on assumptions to impose Western employment paradigms on First Nations Peoples. These efforts fail to acknowledge the history of employment exclusion in Australia, the diversity of First Nations People and the considerable longstanding and current impacts of racism, both in the broader community where it impacts workforce participation (e.g. education) as well as the systemic and covert racism in workplaces.
We are a collective of highly experienced peak bodies, practitioners, consultants, unions, academics and community organisations collaborating in a new policy environment around work and workplaces to lead and achieve positive outcomes for First Nations Peoples at work.
We share the principles of listening deeply to our fellow First Nations People, creating a joint narrative of experiences and self-determining our future to achieve localised success for mob across the country.
We have developed seven shared goals for this new policy environment.
We seek a commitment from all levels of government to develop deep dialogue regarding the approaches toward First Nations Peoples. This commitment needs to address wages and conditions as well as benefits and employment across Australia and must do so across the policy, legal and bargaining processes. This will include developing positive, First Nations-led and data-informed policy development across the workplace community.