Leading on inclusion and diversity

The EPA has a strong and ongoing commitment to inclusion and diversity. We value all lived experience and encourage our staff to bring their whole selves to work. As a NSW public agency, it is important that our staff represent all communities and bring their diverse perspectives to their roles.

Our Inclusion and Diversity Committee is a staff-run committee that leads and advises on diversity and inclusion initiatives. The committee is made up of members who are genuinely driven to increase the EPA’s diversity and ensure every employee feels valued and included.

Women in leadership roles

Two-thirds (65%) of our senior leaders are women, a proportion well above the Premier’s Priority of 50%.

Appendix 1 gives a breakdown of staff diversity.

graph showing 65% of senior leaders in the EPA are women and the Premier's priority of women senior leaders is 50%

Our employee networks

The EPA aims to make all employees feel safe, encouraged and supported in their work. We recognise the value of social support in achieving this aim. EPA employees are encouraged to join the employee networks available to them, which include the following.

Disability Employee Network

This network is open to EPA employees with a disability and their supervisors, carers and supporters. It works to improve cultural awareness, provide networking opportunities and develop ideas.

screen shot of a zoom meeting between members of the Rainbow Connection Committee

The Rainbow Connection Committee met over Zoom in May 2021. Photo: EPA

Rainbow Connection

This is the official LGBTIQA+ network for the DPIE cluster. The group works to advance equality and provide a voice for LGBTIQA+ staff and to create an inclusive, safe and diverse workplace. Many EPA staff are proud and grateful members of Rainbow Connection.

Young Professionals Network

This group provides a professional and social networking platform for new and/or young (35 years and under) staff and plays an advocacy role on relevant issues. This year its focus has been on bringing groups together from across the DPIE and running networking and development events.

Aboriginal Employee Network

This group:

  • supports and promotes the values and aspirations of Aboriginal staff, and cultural identity and renewal
  • builds sustainable relationships across the organisation
  • provides an opportunity for Aboriginal staff to raise concerns and issues and have them addressed appropriately
  • allows Aboriginal staff to network professionally and culturally.

The network can provide input to the new EPA Aboriginal Initiatives program.

Harmony Council

This cluster-wide committee aims to embed diversity and inclusion within all aspects of the DPIE operations. It works with senior leaders to accelerate progress towards diversity and inclusion goals. Council members represent individuals of different genders and sexual orientations, ages, abilities, cultural backgrounds, departments and other dimensions of diversity.

Spokeswomen’s Program

This employee-led group aims to improve gender equity. It works to improve women’s skills, provide networking opportunities, and encourage the recruitment, development and retention of women.

Cluster-wide initiatives

In 2020–21, DPIE Cluster Corporate Services provided human resources services for the EPA under a Service Partnership Agreement.

DPIE’s Capability and Inclusion team led a number of workforce diversity initiatives that were implemented across the DPIE cluster, including in the EPA. These were the:

  • Workforce Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
  • Aboriginal Employment Plan
  • Disability Inclusion Action Plan
  • Gender Equality Plan
  • Multicultural Plan
  • Flexible Workplace Plan.

The EPA will continue to work closely with the DPIE’s Capability and Inclusion team and the NSW Public Service Commission to enhance workforce diversity.

All Workforce Diversity strategies and achievements, Multicultural Plan initiatives and Disability Inclusion Action Plan initiatives for the EPA now fall under the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and will be reported in the DPIE Annual Report 2020–21.

Working with Aboriginal people

The Aboriginal Initiatives unit of the Regulatory Policy Initiatives and Advice Division was formed in May 2021. The unit is responsible for ensuring that the EPA has a contemporary Aboriginal Strategy that is well embedded in the organisation. It will partner with teams across the EPA to drive and improve Aboriginal outcomes, specifically the EPA’s:

  • employment of Aboriginal people
  • cultural capability
  • engagement with Aboriginal people and communities.

One of the unit’s first projects was the development of an Aboriginal identity – a visual identity to be used on clothing, digital materials and other products. More than 200 EPA staff took part in ‘yarning sessions’ (with a focus on the theme of ‘healing Country’) to explore what the EPA’s Aboriginal identity should convey. The results will shape a design brief for an artwork to be commissioned from an Aboriginal artist.

Another project now under way is the NSW State of the Environment First Peoples’ Knowledge Group. This group will have wide representation from Aboriginal people and provide direct input into the NSW State of the Environment report, which is prepared by the EPA. Each report theme will have an Aboriginal point of view, to share knowledge, cultural values, stories and perspectives on the environment.


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