Held annually from July 4-11, NAIDOC Week provides an opportunity for Defence personnel to reflect on reconciliation and strive to do more to cultivate a deeper understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, histories, and achievements. 

This year’s theme – ‘Heal Country!’– urged for stronger measures to recognise, protect, and maintain all aspects of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and heritage. 

Defence acknowledges NAIDOC Week as part of its commitment to the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and in line with the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 (D-RAP) as a way to share culture and embrace reconciliation. 

Reconciliation is a fundamental aspect of building capability through inclusion. 

Defence Indigenous Champion Steve Grzeskowiak said for more than a century, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel had provided, and continued to provide, a vital contribution to Defence’s capability domestically and overseas.  

A firm believer in capability through inclusion, Mr Grzeskowiak said he was proud of Defence’s recent achievement in reaching the Australian Government’s Indigenous participation target of three per cent as an integrated ADF and APS workforce. 

“Along with increasing Indigenous representation in Defence, Indigenous businesses will continue to be supported through our commitment to increasing the number of contracts awarded to companies owned by Indigenous Australians,” Mr Grzeskowiak said. 

Defence Indigenous Cultural Adviser Norman Laing said Defence should be congratulated for the opportunities it had provided.

“It continues to offer Indigenous Australians opportunities through collaborative engagement, employment, as well as economic development,” Mr Laing said.

“Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel bring unique perspectives and experiences into the workplace. Defence must continue to strive towards building an organisation in which Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander personnel and their unique cultures are respected and reflected.”

Further information on NAIDOC Week can be found on the official NAIDOC Week website www.naidoc.org.au