Australian Indigenous Employment

In line with our commitment to Value People – Respect, Recognise & Reward, IPL’s Indigenous Employment Program aims to increase the number of opportunities for Indigenous Australians by providing access to employment, education and training as well as focusing on developing cultural understanding and respect within its workforce.


The program is also a key component of IPL’s approach to Diversity and is continuing to help our business to develop stronger relationships with the community. This year we increased our Indigenous Employment across the Australian businesses to 2.3 percent, maintaining our targeted 2 percent minimum. Initiatives undertaken as part of our Indigenous Employment Strategy are described below.

Implementation of the IPL Australian Indigenous Relations Policy


The IPL Australian Indigenous Relations Policy was developed in 2013 to provide guidance to the organisation as to how to strategically increase engagement opportunities with Indigenous Communities so as to benefit Indigenous Australians as well as IPL. The Policy provides a valuable opportunity for IPL to work in genuine partnership with Indigenous Australians and live the IPL Values of “Care for the Community and our Environment” and “Challenge and Improve the Status Quo”. 


IPL is taking a best practice approach to improve Indigenous engagement outcomes. Our approach is based on:

• research into organisations who have been working successfully in the area of Indigenous engagement for many years

• an examination of our organisation’s current cultural capability

• working with Indigenous Communities to clarify expectations of IPL

• recognition that reconciliation and self-determination are integral to improving engagement outcomes


As a product of these learnings and to achieve Policy objectives, IPL has identified five organisational policy investment areas and is committed to changing the culture around diversity, policies and practices of IPL where required. These five areas are:

1. Leadership

2. Community Development and Engagement

3. Education and Training

4. Indigenous Employment Program

5. Business Development (including sub-contract opportunities)


Cultural Capability Training


The IPL online Cultural Capability Program for Australian leaders, management and staff was developed in consultation with the Indigenous Community and Traditional Owners of the land in which we operate. Implemented across our Australian businesses in 2015, the program encourages participants to recognise that different cultures have different ways of valuing, seeing, doing and believing, and that to work successfully with people from other cultures we need to know which characteristics are critical.

During 2017 we continued to facilitate Indigenous cultural awareness for our employees through direct engagement with traditional owners, participation in events such as Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC Week, and through online learning. A highlight was working in partnership with Traditional Indigenous Custodians to produce a cultural induction video for employees and contractors at our largest operational site at Phosphate Hill. The induction video enhances employees understanding of the cultural significance of IPL’s Phosphate Hill site, the rich history and meaning of the site to the Yulluna Traditional Owners of the region, and the importance of preserving the heritage sites of the Yulluna people for all Australians. Peter Ware, Vice President – IPL Australian Manufacturing, nominated Jetzak Media, who produced the video, to be considered in the ‘Exceptional Indigenous Business’ category at the Queensland Resources Council fourth annual Indigenous Awards, and we are delighted that Jetzak Media were successful in winning the award.


In nominating Jetzak Media, Peter stated “Apart from the great quality final product that we received, the process and professional approach taken by Jetzak Media significantly contributed to a positive outcome for both our Traditional Owners and the employees who participated in the video’s development.”

Peter Ware (Vice President – IPL Australian Manufacturing) with Davina Shearer (IPL Diversity and Inclusion Advisor) and E.J. Garett (Jetzak Media) at the Queensland Resources Council fourth annual Indigenous Awards.


Indigenous Recruitment and Retention

Traditional HR systems and processes can present barriers for Indigenous people seeking to enter the mainstream workforce. We are working on improving Indigenous employment outcomes and have developed a range of systems to assist Indigenous people overcome these barriers. These include:

• Using local Indigenous networks to identify potential Indigenous candidates

• Focusing more on face-to-face communications

• Ensuring recruitment turnaround times are culturally appropriate

• Developing a work readiness program


Indigenous employees also face particular challenges in balancing work, cultural and family commitments and making the transition to a new organisational and cultural environment. For employees of fly-in, fly-out operations, an added pressure is the need to spend extended periods away from home. Strategies for increasing retention include:


• Provision of cultural awareness training for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous employees;

• Provision of ongoing mentoring and support via our ‘buddy system’ was extended beyond our Mt Isa and Pilbara Operations this year to all Australian sites with Indigenous employees;

• Provision of career development opportunities;

• Provision of family support; and

• Addressing racism in the workforce.


During 2017, we continued to implement new and innovative initiatives to help increase our Indigenous employee numbers and increase cultural capability for all our employees. With a focus on creating an inclusive organisational culture for all, we successfully piloted the Recruit for Fit program in Australia. The program, designed as a ‘just in time training’ for hiring leaders, challenges their thinking about how they can help us hire people that fit our organisational culture. The program includes elements of diversity and inclusion aimed at increasing indigenous recruitment and removing unconscious bias. The development of the Recruit for Fit program, and it’s continued roll out in 2018, is an example of IPL’s strategy to drive our diversity and inclusion efforts by embedding them into standard processes with the business. We will also work with the Queensland Resource Council members during 2018 to create a greater sharing of information and data to support the broader industry Indigenous workforce.