Groundbreaking Survey: Employment Experiences of Indigenous Australians

Gari Yala: Speak the Truth

The first ever Australian survey (Update: survey now closed) that aims to capture the truths of Indigenous Australians’ employment experiences in Australia has been launched today.

The Gari Yala (which means ‘speak the truth’ in Wiradjuri) survey aims to be a voice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers, capturing the state of play when it comes to workplace cultural safety, inclusion and exclusion/racism.

The survey has been developed in partnership between the UTS Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research and the Diversity Council Australia (DCA), and overseen by an Advisory Panel of distinguished Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals, academics and experts.

UTS Industry Professor, Nareen Young, said that the survey marked an important turning point in the evidence-base about Indigenous employment.

“Too often we hear about Indigenous employment from non-Indigenous people. The survey is being driven by, and for, Indigenous people and will centre the truths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in its findings,” Prof Young said.

“We know that workplaces already get a lot out of employing Indigenous people, but what we don’t have a clear picture of is ‘what are Indigenous peoples’ experiences of work actually like?’

“For the first time, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are being invited to tell their stories about work in Australia, in a way that centres their experience, and not just that of employers.”

The survey will be conducted biennially to allow the researchers to track Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples’ experiences of work over time.

“We intend to conduct this survey biennially, with core data that we can track over time, with a slightly different focus each time,” said Prof Young.

DCA CEO, Lisa Annese, said that DCA was proud to be partnering with Jumbunna on such an important project to improve workplace inclusion for Indigenous Australians.

“DCA’s research tells us that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples still experience among the highest rates of workplace exclusion of any group in Australian workplaces,” Ms Annese said.

“But what we don’t have at the moment, is the evidence on how to fix this.

“Instead of asking non-Indigenous people, DCA is proud to partner on this research project that will speak directly to Indigenous people about their experiences, and use their insights to make workplaces culturally safe, inclusive places for our First Nations people.”


About the survey

The Survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

It is open to anyone who identifies as Aboriginal and / or Torres Strait Islander, is over the age of 18, and is working or has been working in the past 2 years.

The survey questions focus on:

  • Strengths and contributions that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workers bring to the Australian workplace
  • Cultural safety in the Australian workplace
  • Prevalence of exclusion, cultural load/labour and racism (and effectiveness of workplace support dealing with these issues)
  • What organisational initiatives are associated with higher wellbeing and retention Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander workers
  • What impact does intersectionality have on Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander workers’ experiences.

Media Contact: Diane Falzon, 0430 596 699

Research Partners UTS & Jumbunna

About Jumbunna

The Jumbunna Institute of Indigenous Education and Research is a unique Indigenous led Research team operating in communities in Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales, and collaborators in all States and Territories. Operating in the domestic and international spheres, the team prides itself on frank and fearless research and advocacy driven by the Indigenous communities it serves.

About DCA

Diversity Council Australia is the independent not-for-profit peak body leading diversity and inclusion in the workplace. We provide unique research, inspiring events and programs, curated resources and expert advice across all diversity dimensions to a community of almost member organisations. Our member organisations are estimated to employ nearly two million Australians, representing up to 15% of the workforce.