Victoria Legal Aid

Actions and accountability – towards an anti-racist workplace

We have updated our cultural diversity and anti-racism plan, with actions and responsibilities to help us build a stronger, more harmonious workplace.

Thursday 17 March 2022 11:17pm

To kick off this year’s Cultural Diversity Week, we’re pleased to share our updated cultural diversity and anti-racism plan setting out strong actions to build on our anti-racism stance.

The updated plan addresses both the individual impact of racism on staff and clients, and also larger systemic issues where we believe we can make a meaningful contribution.

It requires us to be vocal and clear about our commitment to reducing racism experienced by both our staff and clients and to introduce a complaints procedure by mid-this year.

Ensuring our systems are culturally safe and safeguard against psychological harm are also priorities.

Acting CEO Rowan McRae said the commitment to anti-racism will not only protect staff and clients, but also help contribute to broader social change.

‘We each have a responsibility to eliminate racism, but also as an organisation,’ said Rowan.

‘That’s why the leadership have taken such a proactive role on these issues that are critical to creating the safe, inclusive and respectful spaces we all deserve.’

‘And it can’t just be about words, it has to be action based and lead to real and meaningful change where we are each valued for our differences.’

The updated plan builds on the inaugural cultural diversity and anti-racism plan which was released in 2020, sitting alongside our cultural diversity and inclusion strategy 2020–23.

It requires us to continue using our voice to combat structural racism, particularly the overcriminalisation of First Nations people and the disproportionate impacts felt in the youth justice and child protection systems.

The plan also confirms the additional value of ‘inclusion’ to Strategy 26, which is scheduled to be released later this year and commits us to improving our baseline data on staff and clients who identify as culturally diverse.

We’ve promised to review recruitment and career progression processes to ensure we’re attracting, developing and retaining staff from diverse backgrounds, as well as ensuring staff have the knowledge, skills and tools needed to be engaged and active anti-racist advocates.

‘It is important that we keep ourselves accountable for this work,’ Rowan said.

‘It can be tempting to fall back on the deficiencies of our systems as an excuse not to take action or to be reactive rather than proactive, but this plan sets out clear goals and aims that makes it clear where we stand.’

‘We are an anti-racist organisation that will call out and seek to address racial inequalities, in the justice sector and in our workplace.’

This year’s Cultural Diversity WeekExternal Link runs from Saturday 19 March to Sunday 27 March.

More information

Read about our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

Read more on our most recent submissions to racism inquiriesExternal Link .

Reviewed 31 March 2022