LAST Monday I was fortunate enough to attend the opening flag-raising ceremony in the Bendigo Civic Gardens for the start of NAIDOC Week.
NAIDOC stands for National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee.
Its origins can be traced to the emergence of Aboriginal groups in the 1920s that sought to increase awareness in the wider community of the status and treatment of indigenous Australians.
It is a time to celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions that indigenous Australians make to our country and our society.
Victoria Police has recently introduced a new initiative aimed at developing and improving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment opportunities.
The Victoria Police Aboriginal and Torres Straight Islander Employment Plan 2014-2018 was launched on May 30 and illustrates our organisation's dedication to being an employer of choice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next four years.
Chief Commissioner Ken Lay introduced the plan as one that was committed to strengthening the partnerships the organisation had with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
This plan aims to contribute to achieving the one per cent target of Aboriginal employment set by the Karreeta Yirramboi, which is an employer toolkit to grow Aboriginal employment in an organisation.
We plan on achieving this by:
Increasing Aboriginal employment across Victoria Police, whether that is as a police officer, a PSO, or throughout our large and hard working unsworn administrative workforce;
Retaining our existing Aboriginal and Islander employees through development and building on their capacity; and
Making the workplace an inclusive place so that our employees feel valued and supported.
Policing is not traditionally an employment choice for people of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islands origin, so we recognise the need to be more representative of the community in this area and hence the reason for our plan.
We will work with the local Aboriginal people to try and improve in this area, so if you know of anyone who may be interested in this career choice, there is no better time than now to look into it.
Next week will be my last column before I move on to a new full-time challenge in Gippsland, and I will be reflecting on my 18 months in the role here at Bendigo, which I must admit has seen a lot of positive outcomes and very few negatives.