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Diversity and inclusion

DFAT recognises the importance of valuing diversity and promoting inclusion. We especially value the unique qualities, attributes, skills and experiences our employees bring to the workplace. Moreover, as the department that represents Australia to the world, it is important we reflect the diversity of the Australian population.

Diversity relates to sex, gender, age, language, ethnicity, cultural background, disability, sexual orientation, intersex status, religious beliefs, educational level, professional skills, work experience, socio-economic background, career obligations and/or other factors that make us unique. An employee's family, carer and other responsibilities, and the need to balance these with work, also contributes to the diversity of our workforce. We take an intersectional approach to diversity and recognise people may identify with multiple diversity groups.

The objectives of the department's diversity and inclusion program are:

  • to draw on diversity and inclusion in undertaking our core business more effectively
  • to remove barriers and ensure workplace equity
  • to raise awareness and understanding of challenges and opportunities facing people on the basis of their diversity
  • to lead training and development of diversity and inclusion principles
  • to help employees to balance work, personal, cultural and other responsibilities
  • to support our staff diversity networks.

Inclusion champions

Champions are senior leaders who take responsibility for instilling an inclusive and diverse workplace culture. Roles are typically filled at the level indicated in brackets:

  • Women in Leadership (Deputy Secretary)
  • LGBTI (SES Band 2)
  • Indigenous (Deputy Secretary)
  • Disability (Deputy Secretary)
  • Cultural and Linguistic Diversity (Deputy Secretary)
  • Mental Health (SES Band 2)

Inclusion strategies and plans

Over 2022-23, DFAT is developing new Action Plans to continue to build an inclusive workplace and culture. Our new Action Plans will address Reconciliation, Disability, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse employees, and LGBTIQ+ employees. The plans will complement broader workforce strategies developed by the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) and will contribute to delivering the Australian Government’s APS Reform agenda.

As we develop new Action Plans, we continue to implement approaches to inclusion set out in DFAT’s overarching Diversity and Inclusion Framework.

Current and previous workplace inclusion strategies include:

Training is an important element of our diversity and inclusion program. We provide diversity training and briefings to state and territory office staff, employees on pre-posting training, locally engaged staff and new employees to the department, as well as ad hoc diversity-specific training. Staff also have access to diversity-related e-learning.

We celebrate diversity by marking days of significance, including:

  • International Women's Day
  • National Reconciliation Week
  • National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) Week
  • International Day of People with Disability
  • Harmony Day
  • Wear It Purple Day
  • International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia

Diversity networks

DFAT supports employee networks to help employees connect with others, share life experiences and perspectives, and advocate to the department on a range of diversity issues. These networks include the Families Network, Indigenous Employees Network, Disability Network, LGBTI Network, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Network and Workplace Gender Equality Network.

For further information, contact

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