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  • Reconciliation action plan (RAP) 2014–17

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     Commissioner’s message

    I’m pleased to present the Reconciliation action plan (RAP) 2014–17 for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

    This is our third RAP – it builds on what we’ve learnt and introduces new initiatives to create better financial futures for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, now and for generations to come.

    The RAP contributes to government programs, such as Closing the GapExternal Link and the Council of Australian Governments' National Partnership Agreement on Indigenous Economic Participation, by providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to develop their financial literacy and supporting employment.

    The ATO is committed to ongoing, productive relationships and expanding our free resources, tools and information. We have introduced new initiatives for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business sector, such as videos on the ATO’s YouTube channel. These short films feature Aboriginal business owners, sharing their first-hand experience with tax. We hope others can learn from their stories and are encouraged to seek our support. We also continue to work closely with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses by purchasing goods and services from organisations like Supply Nation.

    We value and respect the culture and heritage of our ATO employees and aim for a workforce that reflects the diversity of Australia’s population. Guided by our RAP, by 2018 we hope to have increased the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees to 2.7% of our workforce.

    This RAP is our commitment – including actions and targets – to improving the economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through employment, education and support.

    Signature Chris Jordan

    Chris Jordan AO

    Commissioner of Taxation

    Our reconciliation action plan

    Our role in reconciliation

    The ATO has an important role to play in supporting the financial wellbeing of Indigenous Australia. We aim to work with the community to make sure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people know about our free help and support, in order to make informed decisions about tax and superannuation.

    Our business

    We are the principal revenue collection agency of the Australian Government. We administer major aspects of Australia's superannuation system and act as custodian of the Australian Business Register.

    The ATO also works to make sure the community has confidence in Australia's tax and super systems. Our communication highlights the way that community participation in the tax and super systems helps to build Australia's social and economic infrastructure.

    As a major employer in the Australian Public Service, the ATO can contribute directly to the economic participation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by providing stable, secure employment opportunities. We are also aiming to increase opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to supply their goods and services to the ATO.

    Our vision is to be a leading tax and super administration known for our contemporary service, expertise and integrity. One factor in achieving this vision is how we implement all our plans for the future, including our Reconciliation action plan (RAP). We recognise that our promises in this plan are best achieved through building purposeful and respectful relationships, and connecting with the community and other agencies, in meaningful ways. We want to work closely with the community, to benefit the community. This will mean investing in the right contemporary and tailored services to make participation in the tax and super system easier.

    Our reconciliation journey

    The ATO’s journey toward formally supporting reconciliation began with our first RAP in 2007, followed by our second in 2010. Over that time, we have increased:

    • employment, career development and access for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
    • staff cultural awareness and education
    • tailored tax and super information and support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    We aim to build on these successes and work to further increase the financial wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This RAP defines the actions we will take towards achieving better economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    Our achievements

    Between 2007 and 2011 we increased the ATO’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce from 0.6% to 0.7%. In 2012, we launched our Evergreen Indigenous pathways initiative. The Evergreen employment pathway strengthens our workforce by providing entry-level programs designed to build the core work skills of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people while giving them a career plan. The ATO will continue to work within Australian Public Service Commission guidelines to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people employed by the ATO over the life of this RAP.

    During NAIDOC Week in 2013, the ATO launched an online cultural awareness package. All ATO employees are encouraged to complete it as part of their learning and development.

    We continue to work across government and with the community to better understand the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This helps us as we continue to tailor our existing suite of free products and services for this audience. The suite currently includes the ATO Indigenous Helpline, ATO Indigenous Resource Centres and a range of basic tax and business information at ato.gov.au/indigenous

    The ATO Indigenous Helpline allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to call about their Individual tax and super enquiries. It operates weekdays 8.30am to 4.45pm (Australian Central Standard Time) on 13 10 30.

    The ATO Indigenous Resource Centres operate from our Alice Springs (NT), Darwin (NT), and Perth (WA) sites.

    Our dedicated webpage ato.gov.au/indigenous has a range of basic information brochures tailored for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audience on topics such as recordkeeping and business tax.

    Our growth

    The ATO has learnt a lot about how we can work together with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to help build stronger communities. In our third RAP, we want to increase our opportunities to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander small businesses through the Supply Nation (see Action 3.1). This will give us the chance to support and build relationships with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander small business sector.

    We recognise the importance of relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, based on mutually beneficial experiences. We will develop a dedicated public relations strategy and engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through a range of media, to increase awareness about our tailored and free support and services available to all Australians, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people (see Action 1.4). We want to remain informed about what is important to the community so that the support we provide is based on real needs, stays free, and is accessible and easy to understand.

    The ATO’s journey towards supporting reconciliation has been steady. The launch of our new vision in 2013 strengthened our commitment to reconciliation, as we acknowledge the responsibility we have for building Australia’s financial and social wellbeing.

    We will continue to work towards achieving better economic outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This RAP will be used by the ATO to maintain momentum and uphold our pledge of action towards reconciliation. We will report on its progress to Reconciliation Australia. More details on our reporting can be found under the section ‘Tracking progress and reporting’ of this plan.

    Our development process

    The ATO’s Reconciliation action plan 2014–17 was developed in consultation and collaboration with a range of stakeholders. Within the ATO, the RAP development was led by the Access and Diversity Unit (ADU) in the ATO Corporate business line of the People, Systems, Services Group. ADU consulted with the:

    • ATO People business line
    • ATO Finance business line
    • ATO Indigenous Working Group (comprising Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff and non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff), and
    • ATO’s Indigenous Consultative Body (comprised of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff).

    Outside the ATO, we worked with Reconciliation Australia’s guidance to reach endorsement. This ATO RAP is sponsored by our First Assistant Commissioner, ATO Corporate.

    Relationships

    The ATO recognises the importance of, and will work towards, building and maintaining respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to enable us to better understand and meet their needs, and encourage and assist their participation in the tax system.

    Focus area: Providing assistance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

    Action

    Responsibility

    Timeline

    Measurable Target

    1.1 The RAP working group continues to actively monitor RAP development, including whether actions are being implemented and progress tracked

    ATO Indigenous Working Group (AIWG)

    Quarterly (February, May, August and November) 2014–17

    Discuss RAP implementation at the AIWG at each of the four annual meetings

    1.2 Continue to build relationships and confidence in the ATO throughout Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities by increasing our presence at Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander festivals and events

    ATO Corporate

    Commencing January 2014–17 

    Participate in a minimum of ten Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organised events or information seminars

     

    Build relationships and partnerships with other government agencies to deliver ATO information and services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    1.3 Continue to update repository for ATO research and intelligence about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences

    ATO Corporate

    December 2014

    Database established and available for use by all ATO staff. Awareness of database increases among staff by 20% following its establishment and promotion

     

    Continue to promote its use with AIWG and staff working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    1.4 Develop a proactive public relations (PR) and media strategy to better target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through traditional media (print, television, radio), community media, and social media

    ATO Corporate

    July 2014–17

    Increased engagement with the ATO through channels and content relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

     

    10% increase annually of feedback and commentary from the community

     

    At least 10% of target audience reached through any planned PR activity

    1.5 Continue to leverage cross-agency relationships to embed tax and super information where relevant, including into Closing the Gap initiatives

    ATO Corporate

    June 2014–17

    Distribute tax information to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through at least five other relevant agencies’ existing communication networks and channels

    1.6 Continue to develop products and services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences nationally to provide the information they need to understand and complete simple tax affairs at minimal cost

    ATO Corporate

    July 2014–17

    Develop at least one new product or service improvement, in consultation with the community, annually

     

    Distribute tax support and information products and services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities through ATO channels and, where possible, through the existing networks and communication channels of intermediaries and other agencies

    1.7 Promote, celebrate and encourage participation in National Reconciliation Week

    ATO People to promote.

    All areas of the ATO to implement

    May 2014–17

    At least one article focusing on National Reconciliation Week in national staff newsletter News Extra and other relevant ATO newsletters (eg Diversity in Focus and Yarn Time)

    May 2014–17

    Encourage staff to attend local events and/or hold events in their site and invite staff/community to attend

    May 2014–17

    Hold an ATO corporate National Reconciliation Week annually

     n71684-06-2014_js30323_web_banners_540x120px6.jpg

     n71684-06-2014_js30323_web_banners_540x120px7.jpg  

    Action 1.4: Develop a proactive public relations (PR) and media strategy to better target Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through integrated traditional, social and community media.

    As part of a developing PR engagement approach, in 2013 we launched new videos featuring the stories of two Aboriginal small business women on our ATO YouTube channel, AusTaxOffice.

    Deb from Yarn'n Employment ServicesExternal Link talked about how she contacted the ATO early to get her business started on the right track.

    Sharon from IndigiearthExternal Link, a native food, skincare and dance company, explained how she contacted the ATO to understand how GST applied to her changing business.

    Both Deb and Sharon talked about how their businesses provide opportunities for their communities.

    These Aboriginal entrepreneurs were sourced through Supply Nation External Linkand our Indigenous Liaison Officers’ networks. The music was procured from an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander band also sourced through Supply Nation. The filming and editing process was completed in-house by our Video Production Unit in consultation with the ATO’s Indigenous Working Group and Indigenous Consultative Body. The videos continue to be promoted through key intermediaries, as well as on ATO social media and through PR by other government agencies.

    Respect

    Our staff are aware of, respect, acknowledge and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures which assists us to build relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and provide culturally appropriate services.

    Focus area: Cultural Awareness and Education

    Action

    Responsibility

    Timeline

    Measurable Target

    2.1 Work with our business lines to ensure staff undertaking service delivery to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and individuals undertake cultural awareness training

    ATO People

    June 2014–17

    By 2015, 20% of all ATO employees have completed the online cultural awareness training package

    2.2 All products targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences are consistently themed in a culturally appropriate manner

    ATO Corporate

    April 2014–17

    Culturally appropriate creative theme designed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander design agency.

     

    The ATO’s new creative theme to be applied, where appropriate, to new communications products and/or services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences. At least one new product and/or service will be invested in each financial year (see Action 1.6)

    The creative to be applied to existing products progressively, as they are updated

    2.3 Ensure the interpreting needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are met

    ATO Corporate, in consultation with Small Business and Individuals Tax, and Operations

    June 2014–15

    All requests for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities interpretative services are addressed and recorded in a database

    2.4 Acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land at public ATO events

    ATO Corporate to promote to all areas of ATO to implement

    May 2014–17

    Promote appropriate acknowledgement at ATO events through inclusion of protocols in ATO event kits.

    All major events, where members of the public, representatives of other government agencies and/or the media are present will include a Welcome to Country.

     

    Welcome to Country ceremonies should, where possible, be undertaken by Elders, a locally recognised Aboriginal community spokesperson or locally recognised cultural service provider.

    2.5 The ATO will participate in the Jawun APS Secondment program and Executive Visit program

    ATO People

    July 2017

    A minimum of five ATO employees undertake six-week secondments within Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities during each year of the RAP

    2.6 Promote, celebrate and encourage participation in NAIDOC Week

    ATO People to promote

     

    All areas of the ATO to implement

    July 2014–17

    At least one article focusing on NAIDOC Week in national staff newsletter News Extra and other relevant ATO newsletters (eg Diversity in Focus, and Yarn Time)

    July 2014–17

    Encourage staff to attend local events, and/or hold events in their site and invite staff/community to attend

    July 2014–17

    Hold an ATO corporate NAIDOC Week event annually

    July 2014–17

    Recommit to our Reconciliation Action Plan by releasing our RAP annual report and celebrating our achievements

    July 2014–17

    50% of ATO sites celebrate NAIDOC week

     General Audience banner

     Individuals Audience banner

     Not for Profit Audience banner

     Evergreen Tree

    Action 2.2: All products targeting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences are consistently themed in a culturally appropriate manner.

    About the artwork

    The design was created to represent the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and the benefits it provides to the community. With dual meanings, the artwork symbolises the cycle of taxation income through the process of incoming and outgoing avenues, as well as the cultural inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people contributing to Australia’s economy. The integrated design expresses the importance of tax income which facilitates many pathways for Indigenous Australia and its effect on land, family and community.

    This original artwork design was created for the ATO by Marcus Lee. Marcus Lee Design is a creative design agency accredited by Supply Nation.

    This imagery will be used on all communication products for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander audiences.

    Opportunities

    Providing employment opportunities to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people enables the ATO to develop a greater understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and cultures, while building the diversity of our organisation.

    Focus area: Employment and Career Development

    Action

    Responsibility

    Timeline

    Measurable Target

    3.1 Provide leadership and education to ATO procurement officers, contract managers and decision makers leading to increased contracting with Indigenous suppliers and to develop and implement changes required to support the Indigenous Procurement Policy.

    ATO Finance to promote and implement

     

    All areas of the ATO to implement

    July 2014–17

    Actively seek out opportunities and bring together Indigenous businesses and ATO business area stakeholders, and in turn meet the portfolio targets set out by Prime Minister & Cabinet, by:

    • Supporting the development of procurement strategies by matching needs to business through spend analysis and category research.
    • Develop a program to support Indigenous business when seeking to work with Government – including establishing delivering workshops & mentoring sessions to suppliers to provide advice on tendering processes to the ATO and Austender process to support Indigenous business self-identify future opportunities.  
      • The ATO will deliver a pilot workshop by December 2016.
       

     

    July 2014–17

    Develop relationships with respective peak bodies to clearly identify who we are and what we need, while at the same time seek to identify potential suppliers.

    July 2014–17

     

    Participate in Supply Nation events, including ‘meet the supplier’ workshops to engage with Indigenous businesses, and provide advice on ‘undertaking procurement activities with Government’

    July 2014–17

    Educate procurement officials throughout the ATO on the Indigenous supplier base and respective procurement categories that are available by providing internal training and information sessions.

    • The ATO will deliver interactive workshops by June 2016.

     

    3.2 Explore concept of an annual ATO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff conference

    ATO People

    By December 2014

    First Assistant Commissioner, ATO People, to receive conference concept proposal

    3.3 Increase the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the ATO by:

    • applying special measure recruitment provisions to large scale recruitment campaigns
    • working within Australian Public Service guidelines on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-specific employment programs

     

    ATO People

    July 2016

    Increases in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community officer representation during each year of the RAP, working towards a target of 2.7% by 2018

     

    The ATO works within APSC guidelines to increase the representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

    3.4 ATO roles which involve dealing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are supported by participation in cultural awareness training

    ATO People

    July 2015

    By 2015, 20% of all ATO employees have completed the online cultural awareness training package

    3.5 Participate in Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) programs to develop and retain employees

    ATO People

    July 2014–17

    Participate and encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff surveys and implement findings as appropriate

    3.6 Indigenous Senior Executive Service (SES) Champions in place to support the employment and retention of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees

    ATO People

    By NAIDOC Week, 6–13 July 2014

    Five Deputy Commissioners inducted into these roles by NAIDOC Week 2014

     

    Tracking progress and reporting

    Action

    Responsibility

    Timeline

    Measurable Target

    4.1 Annual review of RAP activity and achievements and refresh of the RAP document

    ATO Corporate, in consultation with ATO Indigenous Working Group

    July 2014–17

    Review is undertaken in collaboration with Reconciliation Australia, report tabled with appropriate internal committees, and published on Reconciliation Australia website and ato.gov.au/indigenous

    4.2 Quarterly progress report of activity and achievement against RAP commitments undertaken for RAP sponsor

    ATO Corporate, in consultation with ATO Indigenous Working Group (AIWG)

    Quarterly (February, May, August and November 2014–17)

    Report provided to the RAP sponsor at quarterly AIWG

    4.3 Report achievements, challenges and learning to Reconciliation Australia for inclusion in the annual RAP Impact Measurement Report

    ATO Corporate in consultation with ATO Indigenous Working Group

    By 30 September 2014–17

    Complete and submit the RAP Impact Measurement Questionnaire to Reconciliation Australia each year

    For feedback or to find out more information, please email Indigenous@ato.gov.au

    Last modified: 04 Mar 2016QC 20070