2nd National Local Government Indigenous Employment Roundtable - 3-4 December 2012, Alice Springs

2nd National Local Government Indigenous Employment Roundtable - 3-4 December 2012, Alice Springs
Tuesday 4th December at 12:00pm
, Alice Springs NT

The 2nd National Local Government Indigenous Employment Roundtable was held recently in Alice Springs. Convened by Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA), a consortium partner of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG), the Roundtable drew together close to 90 delegates from across Australia, with a good mix of practitioners from councils and officials from government departments, the private sector and academia. Set in Alice Springs amongst the foothills of the McDonnell Ranges, and with a large proportion of Northern Territory delegates, the Roundtable brought out many significant but rarely discussed issues.

This 2nd Roundtable built on the success of the 1st Roundtable from 2011, more details of which are available here. As such, it saw the release of the much anticipated Closing the Gap Through Place-Based Employment: National Local Government Indigenous Employment Position PaperSee here for the media release. The key elements and actions of the Position Paper were referred to throughout the two days.  

Delegates at the Roundtable          Enjoying a performance by Drum Atweme

See below for more information on the presentations, and to download some of the presentations and videos.

The aims of the Roundtable were: 

  • To learn from and build on approaches and strategies of successful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment initiatives, and to raise the sector’s awareness;
  • To share knowledge and information:
    • To improve access, opportunity, and recruitment and retention rates of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees in the local government sector within rural, remote, regional, urban and metropolitan locations;
    • To learn from and build on approaches and strategies of successful Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment initiatives, and to raise the sector’s awareness;
  • To launch and promote:
    • The National Indigenous Employment in Local Government Position Paper which outlines an approach to increasing the workforce participation of Indigenous people in Local Government, promoting the sector to them as a place-based employer with national reach offering diverse career paths and opportunities;
    • Cross-sectoral partnerships and funding arrangements for sustainable and replicable Indigenous Employment in Local Government Demonstration Projects;
  • To explore the benefits to the sector of Reconciliation Action Plans and social procurement, including community/social enterprise, and other ways councils can improve, assist and facilitate Indigenous economic development, empowerment and employment opportunity; and
  • To explore potential inter- and intra-governmental, and cross-sectoral partnerships involving local government.


Summary of the Key Outcomes:

Many of the delegates said the Roundtable inspired them and gave them confidence in what they were doing, knowing others were dealing with similar challenges. They recognised the need for simplicity and flexibility with program design, noting that it’s a learning and iterative process.

Some of the identified learnings and key outcomes focussed on the following themes:

  • Mentoring - The need for appropriate and effective mentoring and training/coaching programs that are adaptable, with emphasis on work readiness.


  • Reconciliation Action Plans - The importance of a whole-of-council and a whole-of-community approach and commitment to Reconciliation Action Plans


  • Peer to Peer Twinning - The idea of building remote capacity through twinning communities, providing regional and remote communities with access to technical expertise and knowledge drawn from metro councils, while recognising there will be significant learning benefits for both participating parties.


  • Sharing and Networking - The importance of networking, relationship building and information sharing, recognising there are accessible resources and goodwill to share experiences and learnings that will benefit the development of “next practice”. 


Roundtable presentations (and videos) available for download:

The first day presented a series of case studies and journeys, where current Indigenous employees and councillors talked about how they got to their positions, whilst numerous councils from across the country, including a significant number from the Northern Territory, talked about their Indigenous employment plans and strategies. Some council plans and actions were very developed, others were still in early stages, but all the stories contributed to the learnings and the inspiration for others to take back to their own communities.

Adrian Stephens, Director, Escalier McLean Consulting 
The National Local Government Indigenous Employment Position Paper: A Framework for Increasing Employment in Local Government and Demonstration Projects that Underpin the Position Paper

Bill Jaboor, Chair and Joe Ciccarone, CEO, Community Chef
Delivering Better Community Outcomes through Shared Services

David Jan, Manager Policy Development, Local Government Association of the Northern Territory
Workforce Planning and Development – NT Regional and Remote Shires

David Kelly, Workplace Mentor, Central Desert Shire Council NT, Yuendumu Community
The Role of the Workplace Mentor in Supporting and Retaining the Workforce to Improve Service Delivery

Diane Hood, CEO and Narelle Milne, Manager Human Resources, MacDonnell Shire Council, NT
Our Indigenous Employment Journey

Debby Baxter-Tomkins, Human Resource Manager and Mitchell Johnson, Director of Corporate Services, Moree Plains Shire Council, NSW
Learning to Work Together – Our Journey

Peter Opio-Otim, CEO, Lockhart River Aboriginal Shire Council
Tackling Youth Employment Challenges: Some Suggestions

Other presentations on the first day included: a welcome by Cr Damien Ryan, Mayor of Alice Springs; a keynote address by The Hon Adam Giles, NT Minister for Local Government; Raymond Christophers and Bob Mahony on their extensive range of initiatives at the Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation in Broome, WA; Tony Jennison from Alice Springs Town Council on their Indigenous Employment Action Plan; and Russell Stewart of Make it Work, Sharing Workers Locally, Narrabri.

The second day was a discussion on key issues, with presentations from national agencies, reconciliation groups and federal and state government departments from across the county, all of whom presented their ideas and suggestions regarding Indigenous recruitment and retention. 

Melissa Gibbs, Assistant Director, ACELG
Australian Local Government Workforce and Employment Census

Anu Lazarus, Government and Institutional Banking, National Australia Bank
NAB Reconciliation Action Plan 2012: Building strong, inclusive and sustainable communities

Dennis Batty, Indigenous Training Network, Jobs Australia
Indigenous Workforce Participation: Joining the Dots

Bill Bashford, Programs and Projects, Reconciliation Australia
Progress and Impact of Reconciliation Action Plans in a National and Local Government Context

Erin McKinnon, State-wide Coordinator, Reconciliation Victoria
Reconciliation and Local Government – a Victorian Perspective

Paul Davis, Business Manager, Desert Knowledge Australia
Collective Impact: The Indigenous Education and Employment Taskforce

Isabel Osuna-Gatty, Workforce Development Coordinator, Community Services & Health Industry Skills Council
CSHISC Workforce Development

Antony Yoffa, Director Regional Development, NT Department of Regional Development and Indigenous Advancement
The Department and its Role (NT)

Lillian Tiddy, Director Workplace Solutions and Constance Chatfield, Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Local Government Association of NSW and the Shires Association of NSW
Local Government Initiatives and Programs (NSW)

Athena Andriotis, Aboriginal Affairs Taskforce, Vic Department of Planning and Community Development
Victorian Aboriginal Affairs Framework 2013-2018 – Building for the future: A Plan for ‘Closing the Gap’ in Victoria by 2031

Other presentations on the second day included several brief snapshots by representatives from DEEWR, FaHCSIA, the Australian Services Union and other states on their Indigenous economic development and employment initiatives.

Drum Atweme performed at the dinner on the first night. They are a local, youth drumming performance workshop group, made up mostly of young girls, formed to meet the needs of at risk Aboriginal youth. Combining a fusion of rhythm and dance with the voices of their own culture, the young drummers are developing songs and stories based on their own language and cultural identity.
Video 1  /   Video 2  /  Video 3  /  Video 4



For more information contact Angela Zivkovic ([email protected]) on 03 9696 6077 or Alex Kats ([email protected]) on 03 9682 9222.

« Back to Events