Australian Heritage Commission, 2000
- Key result area 1: The National Estate
- Key result area 2: The community
- Key result area 3: Heritage management
- Key result area 4: Commonwealth heritage properties
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment and career development strategy
- Workplace diversity
As part of its role in safeguarding those parts of Australia’s natural and cultural environment that have special value for current and future generations, the Commission’s activities aim to enhance social justice and equity, particularly in relation to ensuring equitable public access to its programs.
Activities undertaken in 1999–2000 to ensure social justice and equity for the Commission’s key programs are detailed below.
- Consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people about matters pertaining to the National Estate in accordance with Commission policy.
- Consultation with Indigenous communities in the assessment of Indigenous cultural values for a range of nominations.
- Consultation with Indigenous people about the accuracy of information on the Register of the National Estate with a view to obtaining clearance of the record for use on the Internet.
- Making the Internet version of the Register database more user-friendly to encourage community access to the information about Australia’s natural and historic heritage places.
- Broadening procedures and systems for information exchange through the continued implementation of a liaison policy requiring extensive consultation with stakeholders before places are considered for listing by the Commission.
- The Commission continued to run technical seminars for all staff and other key stakeholders involving eminent heritage and environment speakers.
- Commission staff continued their practice of providing regular briefings on their activities for other staff from across the portfolio and other agencies.
- The publication and launch by the Australian Heritage Commission and the Australian Council of National Trusts of Improving Access to Heritage Buildings: A Practical Guide to Meeting the Needs of People with Disabilities.
- Finalisation of a NEGP grant to develop a heritage advisory services handbook and training package to serve as a resource for heritage advisers around Australia and assist them in advising government and the community on the management of heritage assets.
- Inclusion of explicit reference to Indigenous heritage values in advice provided under the Commission’s section 30 obligations, on places with better-known natural or historic values.
Fifth Indigenous Heritage Art Award – Tiriki Onus and Michael Eather with their stingray
Photo: Andrew Curtis
- Involvement of Indigenous communities in public education activities through The Art of Place exhibition of works selected from the Fifth Indigenous Heritage Art Award. Publicity focused on people who had entries or artworks in the exhibition. Indigenous people were involved in the launch of the exhibition through performances and welcoming ceremonies.
- Active promotion amongst Indigenous communities, art centres and educational institutions across Australia seeking entries for the Fifth Indigenous Heritage Art Award. This included, as a new category, a Reconciliation Award for works produced jointly by Indigenous and non- Indigenous artists. A record number of entries (exceeding 400) were received from all States and Territories.
- Close collaboration with the Christmas Island Shire Council and the Christmas Island Administration to ensure community groups have the opportunity to provide input to the island’s draft development control plan for heritage precincts and places on the island.
- Funding a series of workshops in each State and Territory discussing ways in which access for disabled people can be provided to heritage buildings.
The Commission employs five full-time staff of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) background. Two of these are Directors (EA Executive, Level 2). Four of the five were employed in ATSI-identified positions. Two advertisements for identified positions were placed in the Koori Mail as well as The Australian and The Canberra Times during 1999–2000.
- Conducting national meetings for the National Indigenous Cultural Heritage Officers’ Network as part of continuing development of the professional association.
- Holding a round of workshops involving industry, local government, Indigenous representatives and other community stakeholders in all capital cities and some regional centres to discuss implementing the principles of the Australian Natural Heritage Charter in project design and conservation plans.
- Continue to advise Commonwealth agencies on appropriate community consultation when actions are referred under section 30 of the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975.
- Consultation on assessment of Commonwealth heritage places.
The Department of Environment and Heritage’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment and career development strategy applies to the Australian Heritage Commission. Staff of the Commission participated in a departmental working group established to revise the strategy across the portfolio.
The Commission employs five full-time staff of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) background. Two of these are Directors (EA Executive, Level 2). Four of the five were employed in ATSI-identified positions. Two advertisements for indentified positions were placed in the Koori Mail as well as The Australian and The Canberra Times during 1999-2000.
Responsibility for most human resource functions was transferred to the Corporate Management Division of the Department of Environment and Heritage, and the Commission now participates in the following programs:
- Department of the Environment and Heritage Workplace Diversity Program;
- Environment Australia Certified Agreement 1998–99;
- Department of the Environment and Heritage’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander recruitment and career development strategy;
- Department of the Environment and Heritage’s Occupational Health and Safety policy and program;
- Department of the Environment and Heritage’s Studybank scheme.
All selection committees for Indigenous heritage positions during the year included an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander member of staff.
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