Managers and supervisors have a crucial role to play in providing a culturally safe and supportive work environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. They will work with you to ensure that you have suitable support mechanisms in place for new and existing staff members.
Cultural Awareness Workshops
All staff working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and students should attend a Cultural Awareness Workshop. See the link below for more information.
Learn more about our Cultural Awareness Workshops
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network
All Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff are invited to join the staff network and managers and supervisors are encouraged to support their staff's attendance at these forums. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network meets quarterly via Teams. To date, presenters have spoken to the network on mentoring, careers in chaotic times, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-focused research projects. They have also heard from the Vice-Chancellor and President regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Recognition in the Constitution, and received updates from the Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment.
Providing a culturally-safe work environment
Managers and supervisors need to ensure that all staff members feel comfortable and safe in their work environment. Some practical advice that will assist you to create and safe and welcoming environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples includes:
- Attending Cultural Awareness Workshops and encourage other staff in the work unit to do so. The Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment can tailor and deliver a session for your entire work unit if you feel it would be useful.
- Avoid stereotyping and taking a 'broad brush' view of the capabilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. All workplaces are made up of people who have different personalities, abilities, beliefs and interests. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are as individual as anyone else.
- Supervision of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff is most effective when there are open lines of communication between you both. Rather than assuming that you know what might be required, asking questions and talking to your team member is more likely to lead to positive outcomes.
- Ensure the behavior of all staff members in the work unit is appropriate. Address any potential discrimination, harassment and/or cultural insensitivity as soon as it occurs.
- It is offensive to ask an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff member about their quantum of Aboriginality. For example, whether someone is 'part' or 'full' Aboriginal or indeed, 'full blood'. The term 'caste' in any manner is also unacceptable. Avoid telling people that they don't 'look' Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. A person's appearance has no bearing on their cultural identity, beliefs, traditions, practices and/or the family/community in which they were raised.
- Actively support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural events on campus, and encourage your team to get involved.
Cultural Awareness Fast Facts
The below links are provided as a starting point in answering frequently asked questions about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture. However the Manager, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment is also available to respond to any queries you may have.
What is an Acknowledgement of Country?
Why have "Closing the Gap"?
What is Constitutional Recognition?
What does "Dreamings" mean?
What is an Elder?
Why are there so many Aunts and Uncles in a family?
What language do Indigenous people speak?
Who are Indigenous peoples?
Can you explain Sorry Business?
Why are there Stolen Generations?
Where are the Torres Strait Islands?
Who are Torres Strait Islander People?
Can you tell me about Welcome to Country?