Aboriginal workforce initiatives

NSW Health is working on a number of initiatives to grow and enhance its Aboriginal health workforce in clinical, non-clinical and leadership roles.

NSW Health is committed to the health and well-being of Aboriginal people, their families and communities. The commitment to increasing the Aboriginal health workforce encompasses all of NSW Health.


NSW Health Aboriginal workforce strategic framework

The Good Health – Great Jobs - NSW Health Aboriginal Workforce Strategic Framework 2016 - 2020 is intended to support Local Health Districts, Specialty Health Networks and other NSW Health organisations to grow and to develop their Aboriginal workforce.

To ensure workforce targets are met within the required time frame, the Ministry of Health collaborates with Local Health Districts (LHDs) and other NSW Health organisations to implement planned actions in the areas of:

  • recruitment and retention
  • education and training
  • workforce assessment and planning.

LHDs, Pillars and other NSW Health organisations are required to report annually on the nine key performance indicators set out in the Framework. This data enables NSW Health services, staff and the community to see the outcomes of their training and workforce initiatives and provides valuable information about the progress across the state of the implementation of the Aboriginal Workforce Strategic Framework.

Your role

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As a manager, one aspect of your role is to support staff to develop culturally safe health services that address the cultural and social determinants of health.


The Aboriginal Health Worker Project

The Aboriginal Health Worker Project aligns with the goals of the Good Health – Great Jobs: Aboriginal Workforce Strategic Framework. It aims to strengthen the roles and support the career development of Aboriginal Health Workers in NSW Health.

The project included the development of NSW Health's:

  • Aboriginal Health Worker Guidelines - providing a framework for defining, implementing and supporting Aboriginal Health Worker roles in NSW Health and covering scope of practice, models of care and qualifications as relevant per role and including sample position descriptions.
  • Decision Making Framework for Aboriginal Health Workers - developed to enable NSW Health organisations to make local decisions regarding Aboriginal Health Workers undertaking clinical activities.


​Respecting the Difference

Respecting the Difference: An Aboriginal Cultural Training Framework for NSW Health is a mandatory cultural awareness training program for all NSW Health staff. It was developed to improve awareness of Aboriginal culture so that NSW public health services can be delivered in a culturally safe way that is responsive to the health needs of Aboriginal people.

Respecting the Difference was launched by NSW Health in late 2011 and includes three training components:

  • e-Learning (online)
  • Generic Subject Content (face-to-face)
  • Local Content (face-to-face) workshops

The Ministry of Health, LHDs and other NSW Health organisations are required to provide six-monthly implementation reports to the NSW Aboriginal Workforce Steering Committee. The Framework requires that 80 per cent of all health staff complete the Respecting the Difference training by the end of 2018.

Cultural awareness training is mandatory

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All NSW Health staff, including managers are expected to do the cultural awareness training 'Respecting the Difference'.


The Health Professionals Workforce Plan

The Health Professionals Workforce Plan 2012-2022 provides a three-part framework for stabilising, building and growing an effective health care workforce.

The most relevant strategies supporting the growth of the Aboriginal workforce are 8.8 and 8.9, to Grow and Support a Skilled Workforce. Strategies focus on developing staff at all stages of their career pathway, and include rural facilities and specialised services such as mental health and Aboriginal health.

Image of Aboriginal Health Worker

Important documents

Download file The Statement of Commitment

The Statement of Commitment, originally signed on Sorry Day, 26 May 2010, is an acknowledgment of regret over past practices and policies which have impacted on the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal people and their health. The Statement acknowledges a number of key commitments made by NSW Health in relation to addressing Aboriginal health.

Download file Good Health Great Jobs: Aboriginal Workforce Strategic Framework 2011-2015 Download file Respecting the Difference: : An Aboriginal Cultural Training Framework for NSW Health Download file Aboriginal Health Worker Guidelines for NSW Health Download file The Decision Making Framework Download file Health Professionals Workforce Plan 2012-2022 Download file Aboriginal Health Impact Statement and Guidelines

NSW Health has developed the Aboriginal Health Impact Statement and Guidelines as a tool to ensure that the health needs and interests of Aboriginal people are embedded into the development, implementation and evaluation of all NSW Health initiatives.

An Aboriginal Health Impact Statement is required in the development of all new policies and strategies developed by all NSW Health branches and agencies.

Aboriginal Workforce Unit

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The Aboriginal Workforce Unit is part of the Workforce Planning and Development Branch of the Ministry of Health. They have responsibility for developing policies and programs that support the growth and professional development of the Aboriginal health workforce across NSW Health.

Promoting job opportunities

When looking to recruit Aboriginal people to vacant positions in NSW Health you need to understand where Aboriginal applicants find out about job opportunities to target advertising effectively.

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