2022–23 end-of-year summary of our performance against commitments in our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2021–24.
Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) provides information on our initiatives to support reconciliation under 3 core pillars – Relationships, Respect and Opportunities. Our activities under governance, tracking progress and reporting enable us to relay our successes and lessons learned to Reconciliation Australia.External Link
We recognise the importance of building respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities and organisations. We continue to explore ways to grow existing services and build new stakeholder relationships. We aim to support improved economic outcomes with the aim of increasing confidence in the Australian tax and superannuation systems.
Collaboration and services
The ATO continues to work with key organisations and other agencies to reach clients and provide tailored services, including:
- working with First Nations Foundation to support their Financial Wellness Week events and helping the community register for tax file numbers (TFNs), link to myGov and find lost super
- participating in the Indigenous Super Summit, hosted by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), and providing information on services available to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to engage with their super
- attending the Ipswich City Council First Nations Business and Employment Showcase and sharing information on business structures, TFN applications and starting a small business.
Reach Out program
The Reach Out program continues to improve the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business client experience through collaboration with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders. Participation in our Reach Out initiatives increased over 60% from 2022 to 2023.
We have delivered tailored products, and worked with ASIC and the Fair Work Ombudsman to co-deliver webinars related to topics such as ‘Employer: Paying workers’ and ‘Starting a Small Business’.
Free tax assistance
The ATO offers Tax Help services including free tax return preparation through community centres, with nearly 30 centres specifically supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. We have a dedicated Indigenous helpline, and we have translated Tax Help promotional posters into 13 Aboriginal languages.
We also offer free education sessions on tax and super to schools with high Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander populations.
National Reconciliation Week
We celebrated National Reconciliation Week (NRW) with a range of events, including a national webinar with guest speakers, photographer Wayne Quilliam and television producer, Leila Gurruwiwi. This event was open to staff from other government agencies.
Further celebrations included inviting traditional owners to hold a Welcome to Country, dance performance and smoking ceremony.
Respectful relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the broader community are important to us, as we continue to support reconciliation and ensure our services are culturally appropriate.
Acknowledgment of Country and Protocols
To provide all staff with guidance on Acknowledgment of Country, cultural safety and respectful, sensitive communication we include Acknowledgments of Country at the beginning of external meetings, cross agency meetings and significant events.
We maintain our ATO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Protocols Guide and update it through ongoing review in consultation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees.
We continue to focus on cultural awareness training for our staff. Our online cultural capability training has been reviewed and refreshed. It will be mandatory for new staff to complete during induction and existing staff to complete by December 2023. Face-to-face training recommenced and participation is increasing as it becomes available across sites.
A total of 9 Jawun secondment placements were taken up in 2022–23. This included in-person and virtual placements, with ATO secondees using their skills to support community organisations to achieve their aims.
National Aboriginal Islanders Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC)
NAIDOC week was celebrated with a range of activities. These included a panel discussion, a virtual weaving event, and ‘The enemy within’ webinar on mental health. The webinar featured former sports star Joe Williams (a Wiradjuri/Wolgalu man) engaging our people with his personal journey. In addition, each site hosted its own activities during NAIDOC week.
Virtual Indigenous art gallery
To increase appreciation and recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, the ATO has created a virtual art gallery. Staff can view the various Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artwork and artefacts held across ATO sites.
By enhancing opportunities for our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, we ensure their knowledge and perspectives are valued throughout our decision-making processes. We recognise our crucial role in providing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers to improve economic outcomes.
We support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses by providing tailored education opportunities to encourage participation in the tax and super systems.
Recruitment and career development
During 2022–23, we supported 31 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff with Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) funding. Two have graduated, one with a Bachelor of Business and Commerce and one from an Australian HR Institute Practising Certification Program.
The Jumpstart program is a 12-month, non-ongoing opportunity to get on-the-job learning and a formal qualification, suited for those who have just left school or who are re-entering the workforce. The Evergreen program combines work experience and formal training over 12 months, with a permanent job placement at the end of the program.
We provided high performing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders an opportunity to participate in the Emerging Indigenous Executive Leadership program to grow their leadership skills and participate in a cultural immersion experience.
We also partnered with the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) to participate in the Australian National University (ANU) Management Program. This program aims to enhance the skills and capabilities of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders employees, with participants obtaining a Graduate Certificate in Management.
Multiple secondment opportunities were taken up, both internal and external, including with the WA Government, ASIC, Treasury and the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS). This is in addition to our internal Indigenous Mobility Development Program.
Nginu Yalga, the annual Indigenous Employee Roundtable, was held in May 2023.170 ATO Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees attended, with over 60 additional ATO and APS portfolio agency staff participating in select sessions. 97% of all feedback reported the sessions as 'engaging' or 'highly engaging'.
External learning events
Staff attended external learning events, including:
- Indigenous Leadership Summit 2022
- APS Indigenous Leadership Workshop
- First Nations Employment and Leadership Conference
- Australia and New Zealand School of Government 2023 First Nations Public Administration Conference
- Wiyi Yani U Thangani National Summit
- Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Summit 2023.
During 2022–23, we maintained our membership with Supply Nation, continued to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to supply goods and services, and worked with major suppliers to develop Indigenous participation plans.
During National Reconciliation Week, we delivered 10 webinar sessions to over 200 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participants on topics such as ‘Budgeting for your commitments’ and ‘Introduction to business records’. Evaluation surveys show 100% of attendees would recommend our webinars to other small business owners. During 2022–23, we delivered 60 sessions in total to over 1,300 small business participants.
Governance, tracking progress and reporting
We continued to monitor RAP initiatives by tracking progress against the planned deliverables and communicating our commitment to reconciliation publicly.
Our RAP Working Group Terms of Reference and membership are reviewed regularly to ensure appropriate representation. Additional Senior Executive Service Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and RAP Champions were appointed this year. They participated in RAP Working Group meetings, hosted Nginu Yalga Indigenous Employee Roundtable sessions, and played active roles in NAIDOC and NRW celebrations.
We continue to track and publish our progress against RAP deliverables internally and externally.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employee representation
While we didn’t meet two of our 2022–23 employee representation targets under our RAP, the use of Indigenous Affirmative Measures recruitment and placements from merit pools continue to increase.
- APS 4-6 2.9% (target 2.7%)
- EL1-2 0.9% (target 1%)
- SES 0% (target 1%).
Formal partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations
While multiple business areas in the ATO have cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, we do not currently have formal partnerships in place that meet the ‘stronger partnership’ elements, as defined in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap.
We will continue to build on recent discussions with the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) and Treasury to seek out opportunities for formal partnerships.2022–23 end-of-year summary of our performance against commitments in our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2021–24.