Australian universities are committed to playing their part to 'close the gap' in Indigenous disadvantage in Australia. A much enlarged cohort of university educated Indigenous professionals and culturally competent non-Indigenous graduates can help improve outcome for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in health, education and many other areas. This page outlines some of the policy work Universities Australia is undertaking in this area.
Indigenous Cultural Competency
Universities Australia has completed the Indigenous Cultural Competency in Australian Universities Project in collaboration with the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council, with support from the Commonwealth Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations. The project has culminated in a Best Practice Framework for Indigenous Cultural Competency, providing Australian universities with the tools to embed cultural competency at the institutional level so that universities are encouraging and supportive environments for Indigenous students and staff, and produce well-rounded graduates with the skills necessary for providing genuinely competent services to the Australian Indigenous community.
For more information on the project, including the Best Practice Framework, [click here].
Broader policy & advocacy
Through its recent submissions to government inquiries Universities Australia has called on resources and energy companies to work with the sector to create additional opportunities for Indigenous Australians in professional and managerial roles, through access to degree-level study.
Universities Australia also works closely with the Indigenous Higher Education Advisory Council on a range of policy matters, including development of the Indigenous higher education workforce, cultural competency in universities and support for Indigenous research and education.
Activities at individual universities
Each Australian university has at least one dedicated Indigenous Centre providing:
- academic and social support services for Indigenous students
- courses on Indigenous history, culture, politics and related areas
- advice and advocacy on Indigenous matters within the university
- a point of engagement with the local Indigenous community
- a focus for research into issues facing Indigenous peoples