Special Measures

What is Special Measures?

  • A program, plan or arrangement designed to promote equality of opportunity for groups of people who face, or may have faced, entrenched discrimination
  • Permits more favourable treatment of a group of people who have not yet achieved employment equality
  • Also sometimes known as “affirmative action”, or “positive discrimination

Why do we need Special Measures?

Aboriginal people currently make up around 30% of our population but just 10.5% of NTPS employees.  Increasing the representation of Aboriginal employees will enable the NTPS to better reflect the diversity of the community we serve. Having a higher proportion of Aboriginal persons in the workforce creates benefits that reach beyond a job itself.

The NTPS has set an aspirational goal of 16% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (Aboriginal) employees overall, and 10% representation of Aboriginal employees in senior leadership roles.

Types of Special Measures in the NTPS

The two main types of Special Measures plans used in NTPS selections are:

  • Designated Positions: Positions are specifically designated for a suitable Aboriginal and cannot be filled by any person from outside that group. (Often used for jobs such as Aboriginal Mental Health Workers or Aboriginal Interpreters)
  • Priority Consideration and Preference in Selection: Plans under which Aboriginal applicants are considered first before any other applicants, and are given preference in selection if they meet all essential criteria and are suitable at level

This flowchart outlines the process by priority consideration and preference in selection processes are conducted in the NTPS.

Aim of NTPS Special Measures Plan

  • Increasing recruitment of suitable Aboriginal applicants
  • Providing greater promotional opportunities for Aboriginal employees who have demonstrated they are ready; and
  • Increasing Aboriginal representation in senior leadership roles

Aboriginal applicants who wish to be considered under a Special Measures plan must provide a statutory declaration PDF (428.6 KB) with their applications, and if selected, a Confirmation of Aboriginality of prior to commencement.

The Commissioner for Public Employment’s Review of Special Measures, released in early 2019, made 5 findings as summarised below:

  1. Special Measures is achieving its aims in relation to recruitment and promotion of Aboriginal employees, and therefore should continue.
  2. That the process for obtaining an exemption from Special Measures in situations where it would be fair and reasonable should be better promoted and more flexible.
  3. That the current OCPE review process for Special Measures selection panel findings of unsuitability provides an invaluable quality control and will continue.
  4. That the recent changes to the requirements for eligibility for Aboriginal Special Measures, as made in consultation with the Senior Aboriginal Reference Group, were necessary and will remain.
  5. That more education and an eLearning course for all employees are necessary to better address perceptions, concerns and resistance to the concept of Special Measures.  (A new and improved Special Measures eLearning tool will be coming soon)

To download a copy of the Commissioner's Review of the NTPS Special Measures Aboriginal Recruitment Plans click here PDF (7.0 MB).

If an agency would like to discuss the implementation of a special measures plan please call the Director, Public Sector Appeals and Grievance Reviews on (08) 8999 4128.

Last updated: 03 July 2019

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