Appendix 7: Diversity and inclusion

Since 1994, Commonwealth departments and agencies have reported on their performance as policy adviser, purchaser, employer, regulator and provider under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy. In 2007–08, reporting on the employer role was transferred to the Australian Public Service Commission’s State of the Service Report and the APS Statistical Bulletin. These reports are available at From 2010–11, departments and agencies have no longer been required to report on these functions.

The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 sets out a ten-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high level two-yearly report tracks progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and presents a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of these reports was released in late 2014, and is available at

The ATO's commitments as an employer are outlined in our Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2015–2017. Initiatives for 2015–16 for achieving a diverse and inclusive workforce in the ATO include:

  • visible leadership and practical support for diversity, through 15 senior executive service (SES) Indigenous, disability and LGBTI champions
  • corporately funded Diplomas in Business for Indigenous employees at APS5 and below, with 11 employees successfully graduating on 18 May 2016
  • our second national Indigenous employee 'roundtable', held in May 2016, which focused on career development
  • two secondment program pilots in Canberra for Indigenous employees were held between May and July 2016
  • an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander protocols document was developed, with cultural information and advice for employees and managers on how to communicate sensitively with Indigenous employees in the workplace
  • advice and support to ensure reasonable adjustments are made throughout recruitment exercises and learning and development activities for employees with disability
  • a disability adviser network to provide a local point of contact for employees with disability and their managers
  • encouraging employees to disclose any disability to assist us in providing better support and services
  • using the National Disability Network to ensure ATO employees with disability provide input into strategies and policies
  • an online training package on disability awareness (for general employees) and disability confidence (for managers) on the ATO intranet site, with accompanying fact sheets on disability, as well as establishment of a priority assistance queue in our IT Service Help Desk for employees who use adaptive technology
  • raising staff awareness of people with disability through ‘Talking Disability’, a video series which features our employees with disability
  • providing access to reasonable adjustments for all employees and prospective employees
  • organising events to celebrate and promote the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), International Day of People with a Disability, and NAIDOC Week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee).

As a purchaser, our purchasing specifications and contracts comply fully with the Disability Discrimination Act 1992. We address this through our ethical business relationship statement, which provides a framework on how we do business with suppliers and sets out expectations for all contractors and sub-contractors. The statement is based on values and codes of conduct and refers to non-discrimination, ethical standards, accountability and transparency.

The ATO website lists the Translating and Interpreting Service and National Relay Service for handling concerns and disputes for people of non-English speaking background, and hearing or speech impaired persons.

During 2014–15, the ATO developed a Supplier Diversity strategy outlining our intent to increase the level of activity between the ATO and targeted supplier groups.

We routinely review compliance with Australian standards and the current Disability Discrimination Act, and the Building Code of Australia when leasing buildings.