Redefining the Mainstream: Local Government, Inclusive Communities

The Second National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism, Immigration and Human Rights


Kerry Kennell
Administration Support Officer, City of Port Phillip

Indigenous Recruitment Strategy: Building Stronger Communities

Submission from the City of Port Phillip Building Stronger Communities Indigenous Recruitment Strategy

The City of Port Phillip is an inner bayside municipality with a culturally diverse population of 75, 000 people.

The City of Port Phillip is committed to policy and practice which celebrates cultural diversity. Council's Corporate Plan provides the context for this in its Key Result Area I - which is about 'Building Stronger Communities' through valuing diversity. In particular, Council will "continue to advocate and address issues of racism and discrimination towards Koorie people, people from different cultures and gay and lesbian people" and " promote reconciliation with Port Phillip's traditional custodians"

Council is active in promoting inclusive workplace practices as well as diversity and inclusiveness in its broader community work. Whilst this presentation concentrates on the INDIGENOUS RECRUITMENT STRATEGY, it is also important to recognise our work in other areas addressed in the Corporate Plan Key Result Area 1 Workplace initiatives include the following:
- The indigenous recruitment strategy is a commitment to provide 6 indigenous traineeships over 3 years, with a commitment to providing permanent full-time positions at the end of each traineeship.
- Celebrating diversity and difference training is provided to raise staff awareness of issues for the gay and lesbian community. The Koorie community and the multicultural community (2 sessions on each area are provided per year).
- Employment practices are inclusive and active recruitment of people from other cultures, religions and diverse sexual orientation occurs.

Community initiatives include:
- a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with our indigenous community - the MOU addresses issues of equitable access to Council services, economic development opportunities, democratic representation and sites of cultural significance for our indigenous community.
- Council celebrates NAIDOC with a month of cultural events and activities.
- Council developed a Statement of Commitment to its gay and lesbian community in 1996 and has a gay and lesbian advisory committee which has committed to an action plan to address homophobia.
- Council adopted a Multicultural Plan in 1996, which addresses issues of governance, planning and service delivery. A Multicultural Advisory Committee works in conjunction with Council in the Plan's implementation.
- This year a multicultural awareness program for Council staff and community workers was initiated. The program commenced with a performance by a group of refugees, who through song and story telling were able to articulate the issues of displacement and alienation experienced by many new settlers. The performance "I came without my mothers hand" was videotaped for use as an educational tool for Council and the community.
- Production of posters in 7 community languages which outline the goals of the Health & Safer City Plan for the City of Port Phillip as well as information on the environment strategy and ways of contributing to a sustainable environment.
- Council's language link service provides access for all non-English speakers who can speak via telephone to Council staff with the assistance of interpreters.
- As a tangible measure of its commitment to diversity, Council has invested heavily in housing infrastructure so that it now has the largest local government housing program in the country. It has done this to ensure that the provision of social housing is maintained in a climate of increasing gentrification. Council has contributed $11m. since 1985, leveraging a further $35m in state grants and developer contributions to house 500 disadvantaged community members.
Finally, in all its activities the City looks beyond the promotion of tolerance to a commitment to the celebration of difference, as major contribution to cultural vitality and social sustainability.

Kerry Kennell is an 18 year old Torres Strait Islander, originally from Queensland. Born in Brisbane, Kerry started her schooling career and went on to graduate in 2000 at Wodonga High School, Wodonga Victoria. Before graduating Kerry applied to study at La Trobe University in 2001 and was successful with her application. Kerry deferred for 12 months and is now working through a Traineeship in Business Administration as part of the Indigenous Recruitment Strategy with the City of Port Phillip, meanwhile gaining experience and knowledge in the workplace before taking on further studies.

Presentation Type
30 min. Paper


Deakin Woolstores Campus, Geelong Waterfront
30 November - 1 December 2001