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NIAA graduate staff standing on steps
2021 NIAA graduate cohort, Charles Perkins House, Canberra

Our Capabilities

To achieve our vision and purpose we are guided by six strategic pillars and we are supported by our people, our technology and our infrastructure. We continue to implement the NIAA workforce plan supported by initiatives that invest in our organisational culture and leadership capability to strengthen our people, and achieve outcomes. To enhance the way we work, we ensure our technology and infrastructure enables effective investment decisions. Together, our people strive to enhance the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The six strategic pillars guiding our approach

  • Building our influence across all levels of government to strengthen mainstream service delivery function for Indigenous Australians, with a particular focus on improving health, wellbeing and education outcomes.

  • Identifying economic and human capital development opportunities for Indigenous Australians and communities.

  • Working with Indigenous Australians, their communities and leadership in genuine partnership to design and deliver policies and programs that are responsive to local or regional context and needs.

  • Developing an investment approach that focuses on areas that deliver the greatest benefits for Indigenous Australians.

  • Developing the human capital of our organisation through a clear workforce strategy to remain relevant to our circumstances.

  • Underpinning our work with effective data and evidence.

Strengthening and supporting our people

Our success hinges on our people. We are focused on enabling our people to realise their full potential and strengthen their skills through a range of workforce initiatives.

We continue to focus on developing our leaders and building the professional and technical capabilities of all our staff. The NIAA’s Leadership Continuum, launched in mid-2020, sets out the expectations of NIAA leaders at all levels, helping all employees understand the important role they play in achieving our vision and purpose. In 2021–22, we will continue investing in our people to ensure our workforce has the core capabilities required to achieve our outcomes. We will position our workforce for the future by identifying critical skills and developing a suite of learning opportunities to address capability gaps, and position our workforce for the future. This includes developing skills to support better policy development, program design and program and business management expertise.

In recognising the challenges faced by our workforce and communities, the NIAA continues to prioritise the safety and wellbeing of all of our people. Our participation in the pilot of the APS Framework for Mental Health Capability has identified areas for further development. Our forward focus is to provide the tools and resources that are supported by evidence and build the mental health capability of our workforce. This will strengthen our ability to identify, manage and reduce psycho-social risks.

The NIAA continues to embed our Values and Behaviours into all aspects of our business to enable a cohesive culture across our workforce, this represents an extension to the APS Values. Our Values and Behaviours are supported by the continuing commitment to our Footprints program. Our cross-cultural learning program is designed to strengthen our organisational competency and appreciation for diversity in all aspects of our work.

Indigenous man conducting smoking ceremony
Smoking Ceremony, Charles Perkins House, Canberra

The NIAA has partnered with the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) to develop the Commonwealth Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy 2020–24, which was launched by the Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, in July 2020. In co-sponsoring the implementation of this strategy, the NIAA continues to promote opportunities to support career pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff at all levels within the NIAA and across the Commonwealth public sector more broadly. The NIAA has provided a dedicated Indigenous SES Band 2 to work with the APSC and across the Commonwealth to support the implementation of the strategy.

The NIAA has refined and continues to promote the Indigenous Development and Employment Program for our Indigenous staff who are in the early stages of their career. We are partnering with the Australian National University to deliver a management program which incorporates micro-credentialing and targeted support for our participating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. Participants will be supported through mentoring from the NIAA Senior Indigenous Leadership Group.

In a further show of support, the NIAA is reinvigorating the APS wide Indigenous Champions Network. The NIAA continues to develop its Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), which is planned to be launched in early 2022. NIAA staff were a major driver of the development of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet RAP 2020 prior to the establishment of the Agency. The NIAA continues to be committed to promoting and facilitating reconciliation by building relationships, respect and trust between the wider Australian community and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in all aspects of our work.

Additionally, in 2021, the NIAA negotiated the first NIAA Enterprise Agreement. The NIAA Enterprise Agreement 2021–24, along with the updating of key Human Resources policies and procedures, will underpin our employee value proposition.

Indigenous woman smiling at the camera
Gubbi Gubbi artist Maggie-Jean Douglas, 2021 NAIDOC poster competition winner. Charles Perkins House, Canberra

Delivering dynamic technology services

To keep pace with the increasing expectations of government services and industry trends, NIAA continues to deliver digital transformation through releasing our new Digital and ICT Strategy.

In line with our vision of reliable, accessible, consistent, and intuitive information and technolog solutions, we will:

  • further foster a ‘One Team’ through providing a consistent experience across the Agency, supported by enhanced internal collaboration, communications and information sharing across our dispersed workforce

  • improve staff confidence in their digital and data capabilities, by providing the right support and environment to learn

  • explore opportunities to improve ICT service delivery and performance to better meet staff needs and business outcomes, support by our ICT Shared Service Providers

  • improve system interoperability and integration through steamlining and digitising of business processes, in particular grants management

  • facilitate higher participation in policy decision, program delivery, evaluation and reporting, underpinned by an accessible and accurate central data repository.

To support the implementation of the above strategies, we will invest in the capabilities of our staff. We will encourage cross-functional collaboration to break down silos and ensure consistent practices, and a whole-of-agency perspective is always applied in our decision-making.

We will continue to collaborate with our shared services partners in uplifting ICT service delivery and performance, with a greater focus on user experience and responsiveness. We will proactively explore opportunities to participate and leverage other whole of government offerings to our advantage.

Providing a suitable property portfolio

The NIAA is developing a Strategic Property Management Framework to ensure considered, planned and contemporary management of its owned property assets in regional and remote Australia. The framework has been designed to embed property management practices that align with the Agency’s strategic objectives and support the NIAA’s capability in regional and remote Australia.

The Framework and its deliverables will be governed through a designated arrangement, ensuring a cooperative management approach that is locally informed. This approach will monitor and evaluate lessons learned in remote and regional areas and will allow for flexibly to adapt to the changing needs of the Agency.