Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Information


"The Education Directorate Engaging with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Communities in the ACT; Information Guide for Policy, Project and Program Development" has been developed to assist Directorate staff with a basic overview of appropriate communication, language and processes to build strength based two way relationships, documents and reporting measures with cultural integrity. The Guide is based on a similar document developed by ACT Health in 2015 as part of ensuring an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspective and lens in policy development.”

What's New

Converge International’s Specialist Phone Help for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

Speak with our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consultants, who demonstrate an in-depth cultural understanding and required approaches for specialist advice, on indigenous issues. Consultants can also arrange for referral to other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Helpline Flyer pdf icon (1Mb)

Cultural Integrity

The ACT Education Directorate is committed to developing staff capability to identify, challenge and question their own cultural assumptions, values and beliefs. It seeks to provide an organisational culture where individual strengths are honoured and validated and where individuals contribute to a dynamic, reflective and responsive school or workplace.

ACT public schools that have embedded Cultural Integrity understand and are responsive to the impact of histories on contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural practices and protocols.

Cultural integrity in ACT public schools means that schools are:

  • culturally safe places for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, families and staff;
  • accountable for meeting the aspirations, learning and wellbeing needs of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students;
  • developing all staff and students’ understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, languages and knowledge systems through professional learning and curriculum delivery;
  • developing and maintaining genuine, collaborative and respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, families, local community members, service providers and agencies;
  • actively representing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and contributions to contemporary society in their physical infrastructure and online presence;
  • supporting and providing opportunities for all staff to build their knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, languages and knowledge systems; and
  • regularly evaluating and refining their practices to ensure that Cultural Integrity is achieved and retained.

Cultural integrity in the ACT Education Directorate Education support office means that workplaces are:

  • culturally safe places for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and community members;
  • developing and maintaining genuine, collaborative and respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parents, families, local community members, service providers and agencies;
  • supporting and providing opportunities for all staff to build their knowledge and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, languages and knowledge systems; and
  • engaging in a cycle of continuous improvement in Cultural Integrity by regularly evaluating and refining their policies, procedures and practices.

ACT Government Policy

Joe Chapman- Freeman, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Officer, Melba Copland Secondary College

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Protocols

The ACT Government’s policy is that all public speeches by representatives of the ACT Government include an acknowledgement of the traditional custodians. Further, depending on the availability of an Aboriginal community elder, and the significance of the event, a formal Welcome to Country may be offered.

All major official events, where members of the public, representatives of other Governments and/or the media are present, should include a Welcome to Country ceremony. Events in this category may include:

  • commemorations and major festivals;
  • major launches of Government policies and programs;
  • conferences held or sponsored by the ACT Government;
  • international events held in Australia of which the ACT Government is an organiser or sponsor;
  • citizenship ceremonies; and,
  • major and international sporting events

Acknowledgement of Country

Rebekah Lane, Year 6 teacher Chapman PS

Acknowledgement of Country - Canberra and surrounds

‘I/We wish to acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land we are meeting on, the Ngunnawal people. I/We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. I/We would also like to acknowledge and welcome other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may be attending today’s event.’

Please note that the above Acknowledgement is to be used as a guide. Once you are comfortable giving an Acknowledgement reflect and include why this is important to you personally, your school or work location.

Acknowledgement of Country - Jervis Bay

‘I/We wish to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we are meeting on, the Wreck Bay people. I/We wish to acknowledge and respect their continuing culture and the contribution they make to the life of this city and this region. I/We would also like to acknowledge and welcome other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who may be attending today’s event.’

Welcome to Country

A Welcome to Country is where an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander custodian or elder from the local area or region welcomes people to their land. This may be done through speech, song, dance or ceremony and has been part of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocol for thousands of years.

To organise a Welcome to Country Please contact the ACT Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs on (02) 6207 9784 or by email on oatsia@act.gov.au.

In 2015 the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body developed protocols for working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT in collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community organisations and individual members of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. The protocols are a practice resource guide for all public, private and not-for-profit sector agencies seeking to engage with the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Protocols for working with Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples

ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body

The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body consists of seven members. Each member is elected by the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for three years and hold office on a part-time basis. The Chair and Deputy Chair are elected by majority vote of the members.

Elections for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body are conducted by the ACT Electoral Commission.

For further information contact ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body (ATSIEB)

Directorate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP)

Reconciliation Postcard Pdf icon (2 Mb)

Reconciliation Action Plan

The Directorate’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) intent is to continue to grow recognition and respect for the cultures and collective rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees and to ensure positive cultural growth and integrity throughout the Directorate.

Our mob, Our Stories, Our Voices

Our mob, our stories, our voices is an Education Directorate Publication, including a booklet and poster series that celebrates and promotes the significant contributions of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to our Education community.  

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Employment Action Plan

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Employment Action Plan outlines the Directorates strategies and commitment to increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.  We actively support the recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples through the ACTPS Trainee and Graduate Programs.

Photo of Campbell High School student – Reconciliation Action Plan

Annual report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education in ACT

Annual report on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education in ACT is a report to the ACT Legislative Assembly that outlines the Education Directorate’s progress, highlights and achievements in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education.

Scholarships

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in an approved teaching or health degree at the University of Canberra, Australian Catholic University (Signadou Campus) or the Australian National University, are eligible to apply for scholarships worth up to $20,000. Applications open in February and close in March each year.
Contact the Student Aspirations Coordinators on (02) 6205 0156 or (02) 6207 9602 for additional information regarding the secondary and tertiary scholarship programs.

Senior Secondary Scholarship Program

Each year, scholarships are available to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander senior secondary students who are interested in a career in teaching, the health field or pursuing a vocational pathway.

Photo of Education Directorate School Assistant

Tertiary Scholarship Program

Scholarships are available each year for tertiary students studying teaching or an approved health course at an ACT university.

Information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Members

ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network (Murranga Murranga )

Photo of Patrick Chapman, Senior Officer, Education Directorate

The ACT Public Service Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network-Murranga Murranga was established in January 2008 and provides an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people employed in the ACT Public Service to contribute to improving program and service delivery by the ACT Government.

Secretariat and administrative support for Murranga Murranga is provided by the ACT Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs. Please contact the secretariat on (02) 6207 9784 or by e-mail at murrangamurranga@act.gov.au

*Murranga Murranga is Ngunnawal language meaning hand in hand and was approved for use by the United Ngunnawal Elders Council in 2015.

Education Directorate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network

The EDU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network (Staff Network) was formally established in 2011. The Network has three key focus areas:

  • Career pathways for EDU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff
  • Contribute to Directorate and Whole of Government strategic directions
  • Provide peer and professional mentoring support to EDU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff

The Staff network Executive consists of co-chairs, elected biannually from the teaching and administrative streams.

In 2016 the Staff Network Executive and Secretariat commenced meeting with the EDU Senior Executive Team (SET) quarterly to provide feedback from Staff Network meetings and to raise key employment and career development themes and issues impacting on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff across the Directorate.

Secretariat and administrative support is provided by the Development, Diversity and Planning Section, People and Performance Branch. Please contact the Secretariat on 6205 9509 or email our_mob@act.gov.au.

EDU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network contact sheet word icon(184 kb)
EDU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network contact sheet pdf icon(294 kb)

Mentoring Program

The EDU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Mentoring Program provides an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff to connect with a workplace mentor. The program developed as a result of a workshop held by the EDU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network (Staff Network) in 2015. At this workshop the Staff Network identified potential mentors within the Education Directorate and the skills and types of mentoring options preferred by the Staff Network.

The mentoring program will be formally launched in Term 1 2017. For further information please contact our_mob@act.gov.au or the Development, Diversity and Planning section on 6205 9509.
Photo of Vicki Lucas, Principal Education Directorate

Community Yarns

Community Yarns are an opportunity for Directorate staff to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members interested in or wanting to hear more about employment opportunities, including casual employment in the Directorate. The EDU Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network, principals and the School Network Leaders are invited to attend and connect with community members interested in education as a career.

For further information please contact our_mob@act.gov.au or the Development, Diversity and Planning section on 6205 9509.

Leave

All employees have access to a variety of leave entitlements which are outlined in the relevant Enterprise Agreement. Depending on the reason leave is required the appropriate leave may be either with or without pay. For example:

  • Personal leave, for when you are ill or injured or needing to care for an immediate family member, is with pay to the extent of your available paid personal leave entitlements and the provision of appropriate evidence where required
  • Leave for sorry business may comprise a combination of paid compassionate leave (up to 5 days) and a period of additional leave without pay
  • Leave to attend Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander Ceremonies, to a maximum of 10 days in any two year period, is without pay.
  • One day paid leave (or a combination or part days to the total of one day) is available to attend and participate in NAIDOC Week activities

Useful Links

ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Advisory Group

The ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Advisory Group (the Group) provides advice to the ACT Government on education and training matters that affect Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students, parents and communities.

The focus of the group is to engage with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and provide advice that assists the Directorate in policy formulation, program facilitation and implementation.

The Group is made up of nine members – four Parent Members, four Organisation Members representing local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander organisations and higher education centres, and one Education Directorate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network member.

Roles and responsibilities of the Group include:

  • Promoting and modelling parent and community engagement in education and encouraging parent/caregiver participation in community consultation processes about education through formal and informal conversations, community forums, community yarns, etc;
  • Provide advice to the Minister for Education, ACT Education Directorate (the Directorate) and the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body (through the Director General’s regular meetings with the Elected Body Education Representative) on the educational needs of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples;
  • Provide insight and advice on key strategic issues, policy formulation and delivery of support services and programs in ACT public schools; and
  • Represent the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community at the National Indigenous Education Consultative Body network and associated meetings and communicate key issues and actions to the Directorate as appropriate.

Secretariat support to the Group is provided by the Education Directorate’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Section.
To contact the Group, please email ATSIEAG@act.gov.au.

Community Services Directorate

The Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs is the leader on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs in the ACT Government, and the business unit within the Community Services Directorate that is empowered to monitor and hold business units to account on ‘Closing the Gap’. The Office provides strategic advice to the Minister for Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Affairs on issues affecting Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander people living in the ACT.

The Office coordinates a whole-of-government approach to issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander residents and provides secretariat and administrative support to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body and the United Ngunnawal Elders Council.
To contact ATSIEB email atsieb@act.gov.au or call 02 6205 2551

Reconciliation Australia

Reconciliation Australia are an independent not-for-profit organisation who promotes and facilitates reconciliation by building relationships, respect and trust between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

NAIDOC

NAIDOC stands for National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee.

NAIDOC Week is held in the first full week of July. It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, culture and achievements and is an opportunity to recognise the contributions that Indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.

AIATSIS

AIATSIS - Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flags

Image of the Torres Strait Islander flag

Aboriginal Flag

Back to Top

Last Updated