Minister for Veterans and Defence Personnel Darren Chester has announced the launch of the Royal Australian Air Force’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander strategy and action plan by the Chief of Air Force, Air Marshal Mel Hupfeld, at the National Museum in Canberra.
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Chester said the Indigenous strategy, Our Place, Our Skies, outlines Air Force’s commitments to the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan (D-RAP) 2019-2022.
“The D-RAP 2019-2022 focuses on improving the retention and career development opportunities for Defence Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel, in alignment with the whole of government Closing the Gap strategy,” Minister Chester said.
“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.”
AIRMSHL Hupfeld, said increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander contribution within Air Force is critical to developing its workforce and enhancing Defence’s overall capability through inclusion.
“Diversity and inclusion creates a more productive and efficient workforce,” AIRMSHL 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.”
Chester added that the action plan Common Ground is the companion to Our Place, Our Skies that details Air Force’s initiatives to improve Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and inclusion.
“Air Force is building its capability through a range of recruitment, retention, cultural awareness and community engagement programs, which are captured in Common Ground,” Minister Chester said.
“These programs are driving Air Force efforts to reach an Indigenous participation rate of 5 per cent by 2025.
“Air Force has implemented an innovative network of Indigenous Liaison Officers (ILO), who lead and enhance Air Force’s 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).
“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.”