At the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, we know inclusion makes us better. Better as individuals, better as a workplace, and better at delivering for the community. Inclusion in the workplace underpins our core values and helps us to deliver on our purpose and objectives.
Our new Inclusion Strategy 2021 to 2024 outlines the key steps we’re taking to ensure we continue to foster a diverse and inclusive culture throughout our organisation. It’s well known that the best asset of any workplace is its people. Our differences enhance our work, providing new vantage points to problem solve and to deliver for Australian communities. Giving our people a voice to tell their stories is a big part of our inclusion strategy. Here are some of their stories.
It's no secret our country's brilliance comes from our differences.
A land of many cultures, our diversity enriches our way of life.
It deepens our understanding of our environment.
And broadens our capability, to make a better future.
It takes people from all walks of life to look after this land of ours.
All hands to care for our wildlife.
All minds to create sustainable solutions.
All efforts to keep us safe from pests and diseases.
Our work ranges far and wide, but our purpose binds us together:
To strengthen our environment, enhance our agriculture, protect and recognise our heritage, and sustain our water resources.
Embracing our diversity by working together helps us deliver with excellence.
When we work together our environment benefits.
Our agriculture and scientific development benefits.
Our future benefits. Our people benefit.
When we work together, all together. We work better.
So what's next?
Meet our people
"It is one thing to talk about diversity and inclusion, it is another to do something about it."
My name is Mumbi
To be my full self at work means I do not have to wear 3 or 4 different hats, I can just wear one hat and be the only Mumbi.
I think we have to learn the language of gratitude and the language of approval of every single person because the way a person feels valued is different.
Getting the best value out of a person is getting to recognise that person as an individual who contributes as an individual.
When a senior leader comes up and shows representation for those people or for a particular group of people, it makes them feel wanted.
I am wanted. I am needed. I am valued. These people really think I can do it. And just that, just the notion that they are wanted and they are valued makes that person bring all their authentic selves to work.
"I've benefitted more from the inclusion of people who differ from me than others who are the same as me."
I've benefited more from the inclusion of people who differ from me than I have from others who were the same as me.
My name’s Alinta. I identify as a Ngunnawal woman, so I come from Ngunnawal country, which you may know it as Canberra.
I think it's important that our department is active in listening and respecting and curating and working with Indigenous people from Australia.
From my own experience, I'm able to provide the perspective of the land that we are currently on, and particularly in my case I think it's very important that the Ngunnawal people are included in the department's forward thinking because it helps all Aboriginal people feel like they can be respected and they will be respected in this environment.
I feel more included when someone is able to turn to me and respect me for my opinions and give me space to speak and listen to what I have to say. All of those three things together make me feel safe and make me feel like I can be comfortable and be myself at work.
"Diversity and inclusion is a really important issue to me and I wanted to be an active voice in promoting this message in my workplace."
My dad used to tell me, actually when I was younger that every cup had two sides. You might see that the cup has a handle from where you're sitting and from where I'm sitting, I can't see that the cup has a handle. So my unique perspective allows me to see things that other people might not be able to see, but at the same time, on the flipside of that, other people can see things that I might not be able to see.
My name is Elroy.
I think being able to be myself at work is just as simple as kind of being comfortable in my skin. How much I'm thinking about, how I'm looking, how I’m speaking, how my hands are moving, how do I want other people to perceive me? How do I want to be perceived?
But then being comfortable in your own skin at work, I guess, is sort of I'm not thinking about that, I'm just doing me, I'm just doing my job.
With diversity, we bring a wider range of unique skill sets, unique experiences, unique perspectives on issues, and through that we're able to foster creativity, innovation, we’re able to develop products which advocate for the entire Australian public and not just a smaller portion of it.
Listening to other people and including them in those conversations has really sort of widened my own understanding of these topics and my own ability, I guess, to reflect on why I think about things the way I do. People are more productive when they feel respected, when they feel valued, when they feel included. And so just by promoting inclusivity, we're actually going to be doing our jobs better as well.
"I want to demonstrate how I support the diversity core value."
Prior to working at the department, I didn't feel included at all. Number one, I wasn't out. I'm a late bloomer, came out at the age of 42, in my sixties now, so enjoying the last 20 years, but, I felt that I couldn't be my true self.
But since when I came out, I've been totally me and I've been totally happy.
My name is Mikey.
So I talk with my hands a lot. I do a lot of flapping might be seen as stereotyping, but that's just me and I find that in this department I can use that and nobody gets upset or worries about me doing that.
I think with the senior leaders in this department, they're very good ‘people’ people. And the thing that I love about this department is that everything to do with diversity and inclusion is led from the top down.
It's a culture that they drive for and they expect everybody in the department to do, and I don't think they get much pushback from people in the department.
I think having a diverse workforce is great for the department because when you're looking at policy development, when you're looking at new initiatives, you can get a very broad view.
So without having that network and without working with people across those areas, we're not doing justice to whatever programs we're putting up or developing.
I think when allies or anybody, for that matter, treat people like real people and it doesn't matter about their backgrounds or their preferences, that creates a happy workspace.
"Being included in the workplace is so important and it enables me to do my job and it makes me look forward to coming into the workplace because I know that I will be respected and supported."
Being included in the workplace is so important, and it enables me to do my job, and it makes me look forward to coming into the workplace because I know that I'll be respected and supported and that work is a good thing.
My name is Yenn.
I have membership of a number of diversity groups, inclusion groups, and I think that enables me to bring to my work in the department an understanding and a level of empathy as well.
When somebody else is included, the people in their work area, their managers and colleagues actually learn information about how to be inclusive and respectful, which flows on to me and to other people from diverse groups.
I think it's really important if somebody has been discriminated against, anyone witnessing that to call it out. I think that's really important.
Having a diverse workforce enables the department to serve the people we serve better, because a lot of the people that we provide services to are from diversity groups themselves or are related and involved with people from diversity groups.
So if we understand diversity better, we will be serving the people we serve better.
"Visibility is also very powerful for people of colour and should not be taken for granted."
For people of colour as well, just seeing people being in higher levels that look like us is really powerful and we really do need that.
My name is Mohamed.
In my younger years, I definitely felt a bit of shame, I would say feeling like you're the only person of colour in the room, for example, and no one else can relate to your experience.
Being an immigrant, having not grown up here, not understanding certain references, just made me feel othered, and all I wanted to do was fit in, which made me push back my culture.
So I look back at the progress I've done now, and there is a really good balance that you can be part of the community and also be proud of your culture.
I think communication and just talking and understanding helps other people understand a lot better.
It helps others who might be in the position that I was in maybe 10 years ago also feel more comfortable and safe at work.
Visibility is really powerful and important because it gives me belief that if I see someone at that level, I can also be at that level, for example, or I can do a certain job that I didn't see anyone that looked like me do before. And that is really, really important.
We are more than our skin colours, we are more than our accents and we can do and be whoever we want to be.