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Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce

Cultural Capability Plan

The department onboarded 25 new graduates in 2020, and as part of their induction, they participated in a cultural awareness program on Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island). The Minjerribah/Moorgumpin Elders-in-Council provided an on-site experience for the graduates. They shared personal accounts of their experiences to build understanding of the complexity of the events experienced by First Nations Peoples.

Many of the graduates work in areas such as policy development, cultural heritage, and planning. This experience provided them with a knowledge base to ensure their contribution is informed and reflects the diversity of our communities and customers’ needs. The experience was well received by the graduates and has assisted in building a productive, culturally capable and diverse workforce.

Indigenous Employee Network

In November 2019, Human Resources branch hosted the fifth Indigenous Employee Network two day forum in Brisbane.

The forum provided a development opportunity for members of the Network to come together and learn about their collective history and co-design what cultural safety ‘looks like’ for the department.

More than 20 Network members attended both days of the forum, learning about the impact State Government policies have had on the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders. These learnings were delivered through the method of storytelling, valued as a fundamental learning style common to both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Attendees identified several priorities that can be addressed to break down barriers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, including:

  • the creation of a formal committee to progress Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues
  • Network members sharing and supporting the cultural development of individuals
  • mental health training, specifically designed to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees
  • members to work together to actively promote and support the growth of the network and cultural capability within their respective workgroups
  • regional forums.

The Indigenous Employee Network is continuing to engage with the department to work towards positive outcomes and a way forward to ensure the department has a diverse and inclusive workforce.


NAIDOC week is one of the most significant events on the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ calendar and participation by the department provides an opportunity to demonstrate commitment to its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. It also develops partnerships with Indigenous businesses and community members within each region. The theme for NAIDOC week in 2019 was ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth. Let’s work together for a shared future’.

The department participated in the joint Queensland Government Musgrave Park Family Fun Day on 12 July 2019. The event provided an open, friendly, and accessible space for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community to engage with government employees in relation to the services departments offer. Community feedback received from the department’s stall, which promoted its Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan artwork on cardboard trains, removable tattoos, novelty licence boats and car photo boards was extremely positive.

Table 7: Equal employment opportunities (EEO) as at 30 June 2020

EEO Group Target 2019-20 Head-count**
2019-20 % of TMR  2018-19 Head-count
2018-19 % of TMR 2017-18 Head-count 2017-18 % of TMR-
2016-17 Head-count
2016-17 % of TMR-
2015-16 Head-count
2015-16 % of TMR-
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander 3% by 2022 131 1.39% 132 1.44% 122 1.33% 97 1.06% 106 1.19%
People from a Non-English speaking background 9.5% by 2022 674 7.14% 600 6.53% 596 6.49% 524 5.75% 525 5.90%
People with a disability 6.5% by 2022 470 4.98% 480 5.23% 543 5.91% 663 7.28% 718 8.07%
Women * 4993 52.86% 4892 53.25% 4885 53% 4844 53% 4703 53%

Data source: TMR SAP Business Warehouse
* no formal target but we aim for 50/50 - noting this is different to Women in Leadership target.
** Headcount is the actual number of employees at a point in time.

Disability Services Plan

The Human Rights Act 2019 (Qld) (HR Act) and the Disability Services Act (Qld) 2006 promote the inclusion and protection of people with disability to ensure their full participation in the Queensland community. The Disability Services Plan 2017–2020 (DSP) incorporates the key principles of these Acts and government policies for people with disability as outlined in the State Disability Plan, All Abilities Queensland: opportunities for all (Queensland State Disability Plan 2017–2020).

To support the Disability Services Plan, the department:

  • participated with Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services in Disability Awareness Week 2019
  • held a whole-of-government Wide Angle Film Festival (stories of people with disability) and co-ordinated a panel of experts who spoke about removing structural barriers to employment
  • hosted 10 job seekers in the Access Ability Day program for a second year. One job seeker who spent the day in Infrastructure Management and Delivery Division said, “I was accepted for who I am and not my disability
  • partnered with JobAccess, Disability Employment Service Providers to host a job networking event. The event gave hiring managers a chance to collaborate with providers to understand how to access this potential talent pool.

The department’s Disability Action Plan 2018–2022 has a focus on activities to improve accessibility of public transport services.

White Ribbon workplace

The department continues to raise awareness of domestic and family violence (DFV) through internal communications, training and events. Each year in November, the department hosts a Domestic Family Violence Awareness event and in 2019, we were fortunate to hear from keynote speakers, Simone O’Brien, employee, domestic violence survivor and ambassador for Beyond DV; Shaan Ross-Smith from the MATE Violence Prevention Program, Griffith University and Tracy O’Bryan, Deputy Director- General, Corporate Division.

Simone shared with us the progress she has made as a survivor of domestic violence and her work as an advocate in the community. Simone amazed the audience when she shared that she has now completed 52 surgeries as a result of a horrific domestic violence attack. Her story has raised awareness in the department and empowered employees to recognise when a colleague may be affected by violence.

Shaan challenged everyone to think about how they can be active bystanders in the prevention of DFV. She explained that as a bystander, getting involved sends two messages - a message of support to the victim and a message of accountability to the perpetrator.

Tracy highlighted the department’s continued involvement in addressing DFV and reinforced how staff individually play a role in creating a positive culture and social change.

Women in Leadership Mentoring Program

The Women in Leadership Mentoring Program is now in its sixth year and is a key initiative within the department’s Gender Equity Plan 2019–21.

The mentoring program continues to support the department’s commitment to increasing women in senior leadership positions (Senior Officer/Senior Executive Service). The program provides participants with support to achieve their goals and offers an exciting opportunity to further develop leadership skills and create broader networks.

The 2020 Women in Leadership Mentoring Program has 37 matched pairs with participation from across the department’s divisions. The program runs from August to December, launching with planned virtual workshops in early August, mid-program webinars in October, followed by an end of program event in December.

Women in Engineering

The Women in Engineering Program aims to attract, support, retain, and celebrate women in engineering by delivering various initiatives aligned to three focus areas:

  • early awareness – providing opportunity for primary and secondary school students to engage with STEM through relevant activities
  • continued engagement – supporting female high school and university students to consider or continue studies in engineering and STEM
  • professional support and development – retaining, promoting and celebrating females in the engineering profession.

In 2019–20, the department supported several initiatives to advance and support women in the engineering profession, by awarding an educational bursary and sponsoring STEM school competitions.

These included:

  • the Spaghetti Bridge Competition
  • Engineering Link Projects
  • the Aurecon Bridge Building Competition.

Table 8: Percentage of women in SES/SO leadership roles as 30 June 2020

Year %
2013-14 25%
2014-15 27%
2015-16 27%
2016-17 30%
2017-18 32%
2018-19 30%
2019-20 32%

Data Source: TMR SAP Business Warehouse
Notes: Data has been rounded to nearest whole percentage

Gender diversity recognised

In 2019, the first Gender Equity Plan was launched, recognising the work the department has done to promote equality and outline goals for the future.

In aligning with the Plan’s goal of valuing gender diversity, the department celebrated Queensland Women’s Week 2020 with a public event in March 2020. Keynote speaker, Dr Kirsten Ferguson, Deputy Chair of the ABC and award winning expert in leadership, business leader, and author, demonstrated the importance of celebrating the diverse community of strong women through her #Celebratingwomen campaign.

At the event, the inaugural Wonder Women Awards was launched to celebrate the unsung female heroes in the workplace. Wonder Women have been nominated for their leadership, innovation, determination, and commitment to others. The event brought together industry, government, and the wider community to celebrate their diverse community of strong women and featured a lively debate on the topic ‘Men are better at science, women are better at humanities’.