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CEO Blair Exell standing outside with NIAA staff

Message from the Chief Executive Officer

I am pleased to present the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) 2021–22 Corporate Plan, which covers the reporting period 2021–22 to 2024–25, as required under paragraph 35 (1) (b) of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act). The Corporate Plan sets out the priorities, activities and expected performance required to achieve our purpose over the respective period.

The 2021–22 Budget was significant for Indigenous Australians and included a number of important measures. The Agency has a key role to co-design and deliver substantial reform, and our influence and advice is critical across Government. The budget measures will see the NIAA assist the Government by helping Indigenous Australians into quality and long-lasting jobs, strengthening Indigenous businesses and community organisations, and backing the Government’s commitment to transform the way it works with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

Blair Exell
Blair Exell, CEO

The Indigenous Skills and Jobs Advancement Package will reshape NIAA led jobs programs with a new, targeted, place-based Indigenous Skills and Employment Program that will help position Indigenous job seekers, students and remote and regional Indigenous businesses to fully participate in Australia’s economic recovery plan. A New Remote Engagement Program will be designed and piloted before replacing the current Community Development Program in 2023. This will have an Agency wide impact and will be a large body of work across the NIAA.

The NIAA will continue to lead the Commonwealth Government implementation of the National Agreement on Closing the Gap through partnership and engagement with other Commonwealth portfolios, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representatives, and state and territory governments. The Budget and subsequent announcements also set the foundations for achieving Closing the Gap targets and Priority Reforms through new funding in mental health, aged care, women’s safety and education among others.

The Minister for Indigenous Australians has begun consultations with his colleagues on the development of a National Roadmap for Indigenous Skills, Jobs and Wealth Creation (the National Roadmap). The National Roadmap will drive actions that invest in human, social and economic capital and connect Indigenous Australians to jobs and industry opportunities. This policy will be cross cutting, and engage with issues across all economic portfolios.

In the context of the Australian Government’s economic recovery agenda, the National Roadmap will focus attention on better connecting Indigenous Australians to economic opportunities. It will complement the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and its focus on addressing social inequalities and priority reforms.

The NIAA will continue to support the co-design process for an Indigenous Voice, the Government’s consideration of proposals put forward as a result of the process, and the outcomes of a Government decision. This is important work that will be another transformational reform to the way governments work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

On behalf of the Australian Government, the NIAA will also continue our daily business, to lead the design, implementation and delivery of policies, strategies and programs that:

  • improve economic opportunities and access, and mental health and wellbeing for Indigenous Australians
  • improve wellbeing, development, access and attainment of education for Indigenous children and students
  • assist in the maintenance of Indigenous cultural expression and conservation, and allow Indigenous Australians to participate equally in the economic and social life of the nation
  • improve the capabilities of Indigenous organisations, and enhance regional governance and local decision-making.

Delivering the reforms successfully along with the work we do each day will only be accomplished by the NIAA working together with the positive spirit and dedication that we have seen over the last two years. As an organisation we will build on this momentum and continue to focus on developing our capabilities, investing in our people and improving the way we work. Our Values and Behaviours are now embedded into all aspects of our business, assisting to deliver a cohesive culture across our workforce.

I am very proud of the work we do, striving in all that we do to deliver a future for Indigenous Australians with thriving families and communities that are safer, healthier, and more resilient.

I look forward to building on the NIAA’s successes over the next 12 months, and reporting our results against the Corporate Plan through the annual performance statements in the NIAA’s Annual Report for 2021–22.

Blair Exell

Acting Chief Executive Officer
National Indigenous Australians Agency

August 2021