We deliver greater benefits for the people of New South Wales when our workforce is diverse and inclusive. Our leaders have a critical role to play in achieving this. 

The NSW Government has made creating a 'world class public service' one of the Premier’s Priorities. This includes driving public sector diversity by 2025, through increasing the:

  • proportion of women in senior leadership roles to 50 per cent
  • number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in senior leadership roles
  • proportion of roles held by people with a disability in the government sector to 5.6 per cent.

The NSW Public Sector Aboriginal Employment Strategy 2019-2025 - NSW Working Together for a Better Future - has also committed to meet the Premier's Priority by enabling Aboriginal and Torres Strait employees to:

  • fill at least 114 public sector senior leadership roles
  • represent 3 per cent of all employees in non-executive salary classes. 

Our commitment

The NSW public sector is committed to building an inclusive and diverse workforce that is representative of the community we serve, in which all our employees feel they belong.

Inclusive workplaces are ones in which everyone feels valued, safe to bring their whole self to work, has access to equal opportunities and empowered to make a genuine contribution.

Harnessing our employees' diverse range of skills, knowledge and perspectives gives us a deeper understanding of the communities we serve and allows us to deliver better outcomes for the people of NSW. 

Inclusive leadership

Leaders play an important role in creating and empowering diverse teams, enabling employees to speak up and to bring their whole selves to work.

By developing your inclusive leadership capabilities, you can have a tangible impact on workforce engagement and performance outcomes, increase innovation by supporting diverse perspectives, enable better decisions and support problem solving.

Research by Deloitte has identified six traits that are key to inclusive leadership. Watch the following video to explore the traits you should build into your leadership style. 

A story shared - a senior leader explains why you need to set the tone:

“I am a female leader, and proud of my cultural heritage. Earlier in my career I remember attending senior leader meetings and seeing a very 'white' view. For me, this didn't accurately represent the world I lived in. It is inspiring to see people who look like you in senior positions. It makes you believe that you too can progress.

I think that sometimes the dominant stereotype of what makes a good leader can mean that people from Asian backgrounds are overlooked as potential. More could be done to promote different ideals of leadership. Australia is  multi-cultural society and our leadership models and ideals should reflect this.

 Even though I didn’t have visible role models, I was fortunate in that I had great leaders who mentored and encouraged me to speak up and take the opportunities that came my way. We all have a sphere of influence. As you move up, that sphere gets bigger. This is why it is especially incumbent on senior leaders to role model and set the tone.”

What can you do?

Improve your inclusive leadership skills by:

  • being curious, seek out diverse perspectives and know your biases
  • expanding your knowledge - watch our Diversity and Inclusion Forum event series highlighting innovative best practice
  • listening to the Diversity Council Australia podcast  - The Art of Inclusion
  • considering to become an executive sponsor of your organisation's employee diversity networks
  • role modelling inclusive workplace practices:


The NSW Government is committed to increasing disability employment in the public sector to 5.6% by 2025 as one of the priorities of the Premier. It is vital that senior executives take part by developing a disability aware and inclusive culture and workforce in their workplace.

We’re developing and delivering the ‘Jobs for People with Disability’ program to provide senior executives and agencies with the knowledge, tools and documents to become disability confident. 

Improve your skills on disability inclusion and employment by:

The legislative framework for workforce diversity

Government Sector Employment Act 2013 (GSE Act)

Under Section 63 of the GSE Act, the head of a NSW government sector agency is responsible for workforce diversity and ensuring that workforce diversity is integrated into workforce planning within their agency.

Government Sector Employment (General) Rules 2014

The broad purpose of Rule 26 is to facilitate the employment of ‘eligible persons’ who may otherwise be disadvantaged in employment in the government sector. An ‘eligible person’ includes:

  • an Aboriginal person or Torres Strait Islander
  • a person with a disability
  • a person under the age of 25 years
  • a person who, on or after 1 December 2015, enters or has entered Australia on a Refugee and Humanitarian (Migrant) (Class XB) visa issued by the Commonwealth
  • a person who belongs to a group of persons designated by the Public Service Commissioner as being disadvantaged in employment.

Rule 26 can be used to create employment opportunities by allowing some roles to be targeted for the employment of ‘eligible persons’. To facilitate this, Rule 26 allows for modifications to:

  • merit-based employment rules for the Public Service
  • recruitment and selection policies or procedures for non-Public Service government sector agencies (including the Transport Service, Health Search and NSW Police Force).

For more information on Rule 26, see the website: Disability and accessibility resources

Rule 27 requires the head of a government sector agency to ensure that information relating to workforce diversity within that agency is collected and is can be provided to the Commissioner if required to do so under Section 16 of the GSE Act.

Anti-Discrimination Act 1977

The Anti-Discrimination Act 1977 states that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person on the grounds of, race, sex, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, caring responsibilities, marital or domestic status when that person is applying for a job, at work or when leaving a job

For more information on anti-discrimination, see the website: Anti-Discrimination Board.

Other Acts

Further information