A new strategy to achieve culturally representative leadership in the APSIN THE APS

Minister for Finance, Minister for Women, Minister for the Public Service

The Albanese Government has today released its plan to increase cultural diversity in the senior leadership ranks of the Australian Public Service (APS).

The Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Employment Strategy and Action Plan, published by the Australian Public Service Commission, sets out clear standards and expectations that the APS needs to better reflect the community it serves.

While the APS broadly reflects the cultural and racial diversity in Australia, representation drops sharply at senior levels. CALD APS employees report higher levels of discrimination and racism.

The Minister for the Public Service, Senator the Hon. Katy Gallagher, says half of the Australian population were born overseas or have a parent who was born overseas.

‘As part of this strategy we’re setting a target to increase CALD representation in the Senior Executive Service (SES) to 24% and achieving 15% representation within 4 years.

‘We want to harness the skills and experience of CALD employees and remove the barriers they face for career progression.

‘Australia is a multicultural nation, and the APS needs to reflect and look like the people it serves.’

The strategy sets out five headline actions:

  1. Whole of APS standards: Introduce an APS Statement of Leadership to Support Cultural Diversity to ensure that the standard for culturally respectful and safe workplaces is upheld.
  2. Cultural understanding: Build an APS-wide Interagency CALD Champion Network and a curated collection of multi-media learning resources.
  3. Leadership and management: Build APS leadership through embedding cultural capability training and sponsorship of CALD employees.
  4. Recruitment and progression: Modernise the APS recruitment and promotion processes to apply a rigorous understanding of merit.
  5. Representation: Introduce a reportable benchmark of 24% for CALD representation in the SES.

The Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Andrew Giles MP said the Strategy is a recognition of the importance of multicultural diversity.

‘Our multicultural diversity is our nation’s greatest strength. Our public service is at its best when it reflects the diversity of our society at all levels.

‘Through this Strategy, the Albanese Labor Government is ensuring that the APS is a workplace for all Australians, no matter your faith or cultural background.’

The Assistant Minister for the Public Service, the Hon Patrick Gorman MP, who also welcomes the release of the Strategy, said this is another win for the Australian community in general, and the APS in particular.

‘This is a call to action for all APS employees – to be inclusive leaders who embrace the cultural diversity of the Service.

‘The APS is a core part of the community. Public servants are our neighbours, friends, and family. Therefore, the Service must reflect the full diversity of the Australian community.

‘Being a model employer means ensuring an environment that enables and empowers all employees to serve the Australian public,’ the Assistant Minister said.

‘CALD employees are already a significant part of the APS workforce. This Strategy will give the APS the benefits of rich and diverse perspectives, knowledge, talent and capabilities for the wider benefit.

‘This Strategy will drive the changes needed to address any roadblocks to an inclusive, equitable and diverse workplace in the APS.’

The CALD Employment Strategy(link is external) is now available on the APSC website.

/Public Release. View in full here.