Pathways for Indigenous employees to take on senior roles within the ACT public service will be improved under a territory government push to improve representation in the service's ranks.
But while the ACT government has pledged to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior roles by the end of the year, it has no specific targets.
The commitment comes after the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander elected body expressed concerns about the under representation of Indigenous people in senior roles.
An ACT government spokeswoman said senior roles included senior officer classifications, school leaders, statutory office holders and the senior executive service classifications.
The ACT government's commitment to increasing the number of senior roles was part of the territory's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander agreement. There are currently 69 Indigenous people in senior roles.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body in 2020 raised concerns, in a hearings report, the rate of Indigenous employment in senior officer and executive positions was too low.
"There does appear to be an increase in the number of roles that are identified as being specifically for an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people to apply," the body said.
"However, there is less focus on the recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in senior positions of influence (senior executive service roles) and that leaves some question as to how more junior employees are supported through their employment and able to raise both positive and negative issues with senior leadership."
The ACT cabinet agreed to a response to the hearing in February and the response has recently been published online. In its response, the cabinet said it would respond to concerns through the "accelerated work priority area of recruitment and retention".
An ACT government spokeswoman did not directly answer questions on how it intended to increase the number of Indigenous people in senior roles.
Instead, the spokeswoman referred to leadership development programs that had been implemented to help already existing Indigenous people in senior roles. But the spokeswoman said there was leadership opportunities offered to Indigenous employees.
"The ACT public service offers a variety of leadership development opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees," she said.
The territory government has also agreed to focus on awarding more contracts to Indigenous-owned businesses.
The government spokeswoman said it was on its way to beat its target of 1.5 per cent of all contract spend to go towards Indigenous-owned businesses this financial year.
"As at the end of March 2021, 69 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Enterprises have done business with the ACT government to the total value of more than for $9 million," she said.
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