We are very pleased to introduce Barring Djinang, the new Aboriginal Employment Strategy for the Victorian public sector.

On behalf of the Victorian Government, we acknowledge and pay respect to Victoria’s Aboriginal peoples as the Traditional Owners and custodians of the lands that are now called Victoria.

The contribution of Victoria’s Aboriginal public sector employees benefits all Victorians. Victoria’s public sector workplaces have taken strides forward in recent years to improve Aboriginal employment outcomes. But there is more to be done to overcome some longstanding challenges. To this end, Barring Djinang will continue to build a highly capable public sector that benefits from the unique skills and experience Aboriginal employees bring into the workplace.

A Taungurung phrase meaning “Pathway of the Feet”, Barring Djinang’s focus is on growing the pathways to a career in the Victorian public sector, as well as placing a stronger emphasis on building new or improved opportunities for existing staff.

Barring Djinang has been designed to foster and grow careers and actively support growth targets for Aboriginal representation.

The Victorian Government’s commitment to self-determination will fundamentally change the way government works with the Victorian community to improve outcomes for all Victorians. The Strategy will actively contribute to the Victorian Government’s advancement of Aboriginal self- determination through three key focus areas.

Firstly, by strengthening Aboriginal leadership capacity, the Strategy will grow the number of Aboriginal staff in senior positions in the public service, and will support the development of future Aboriginal leaders in Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, public and private sectors. Secondly, existing and future Aboriginal staff will have better access to development opportunities, support and career pathways. This includes opportunities to ensure that Aboriginal Victorians are represented at the highest levels of public sector leadership – there is no reason not to aspire to Victoria seeing its first Aboriginal Department Secretary in the lifetime of this Strategy.

Finally, building the cultural capability of the public sector at individual, managerial, leadership and whole of organisation levels, the Strategy will help to ensure that the Victorian public sector can work more effectively with the community it serves, including supporting Aboriginal self-determination and ensuring that the priorities of Aboriginal Victorians shape the work of government.

This Strategy is built on a foundation of engagement and consultation with the Aboriginal community. Through the new Barring Djinang Steering Group, the Victorian Public Sector Commission will partner with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations and ensure that the Aboriginal community guide decisions about the Strategy and its implementation, consistent with the commitment to advancing Aboriginal self-determination.

We thank the Victorian Public Sector Commission, and all those who contributed to the development of Barring Djinang for their efforts.