Putting words into action – towards an inclusive and anti-racist workplace

Putting words into action – towards an inclusive and anti-racist workplace

Wednesday, 24 March 2021

As part of our Cultural Diversity Week celebrations, we’re pleased to share our Cultural Diversity and Inclusion Strategy yearly progress report. Despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic we have made steady progress towards the goals of the strategy.

Highlights from the first year of the strategy include:  

  • Developed a Cultural diversity and anti-racism plan of action (docx, 181.44 KB) which includes specific actions to tackle systemic racism.
  • Coordinated a joint submission about the treatment of public housing tenants during the public housing ‘hard lockdown’. The submission recognised that many residents face compounding legal needs due to their cultural and linguistic backgrounds, their experiences as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, as refugees or migrants, and/or as people with disabilities. These residents are negatively impacted by emergency responses that do not consider those needs.
  • Launched mandatory diversity and inclusion, and unconscious bias e-learnings for our staff.

Victoria Legal Aid CEO Louise Glanville said, ‘Victoria Legal Aid has the opportunity, and responsibility, to use our voice to make lasting and meaningful change towards eliminating systemic racism.

‘This is evident in the recommendations of the Victorian Parliament’s recent inquiry into anti-vilification protection. These include recognising the need to fund the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and Victoria Legal Aid to enable us to engage in strategic litigation on vilification matters. We look forward to working with government and our partners to support the implementation of these important recommendations.

‘The events of the past year have also highlighted how we all have a personal role to play in supporting racial justice. I’ve been humbled by the leadership and courage shown by our staff in their work on cultural diversity and anti-racism at VLA over the past 12 months. These actions will lead to changes that will ultimately improve the experience of our clients.

‘As we move into year two of the strategy, we will continue to tackle racism in our workplace, services and justice system, while holding ourselves accountable, both as an organisation and as individuals, to achieving racial justice within our organisation’, said Louise.

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