It’s a milestone for a man making a huge difference in Air Force.

Indigenous Liaison Officer Flight Lieutenant Steve Warrior is celebrating his first year in the job.

During those 12 months in uniform, he’s introduced numerous initiatives and programs to further strengthen the ADF’s relationship with Indigenous communities in South Australia.

Indigenous Liaison Officers are central to establishing and maintaining close personal rapport with elders, leaders and members of the community.

"The biggest motivation for me to join Air Force was the opportunity to incorporate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and implement new initiatives," Flight Lieutenant Warrior said.

"Being a local Aboriginal man in uniform empowers me to mentor our younger generation and also enhance our presence within Defence.

"This provides our people with a unique skill set and level of resilience, which is why keeping that connection to culture and country is so vital.

"It gives us a sense of belonging, pride and will ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture is a part of Air Force."

In Indigenous communities, trust is built from maintaining a continuous relationship, which is what the Indigenous Liaison Officer role develops and fosters.
 
"It is known that our culture is the oldest living culture in the world, having survived severe adversity," Flight Lieutenant Warrior said.
 
"The ILO network is diverse and we have connected really well. We are passionate about who we are, our cultures and provide guidance and support to one another."

Even during these uncertain times with COVID-19, the Indigenous Liaison Officer network continues to build on engagement initiatives for 2020 and beyond.

This will include sporting and leadership programs provided to schools and Indigenous organisations, as well as implementing an awards event to acknowledge efforts of Indigenous military members that are excelling within their roles and units for cultural engagements.

"The inclusiveness and opportunity to represent Aboriginal people is what I enjoy most about my role,” Flight Lieutenant Warrior said.

"Also having worked across most of the units at RAAF Base Edinburgh, it has really opened my eyes to the opportunities that exist in Air Force. I would encourage my family and friends to consider it as an employer of choice.

"As an Officer, I’ve learnt that you have a great responsibility to both your chain of command, your peers and your local community.

"Ideally I would like to become a P-8A Pilot, not only to benefit me and my family, but it would influence the local Indigenous kids that if they’re willing to work hard they can achieve anything."

Air Force recently launched three significant policies - Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022, Our Place, our Skies and Common Ground 2019-2028.

These policies demonstrate Defence’s road map to contributing to a Whole-of-government approach to Closing the Gap while enhancing capability, diversity and commitment to local Indigenous communities across Australia.

Air Force acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands, air and seas in which we live, work and train. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and emerging. We also pay our respects to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have contributed to the defence of Australia in times of peace and war.