Mr Cliff Weeks was appointed Director General, Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA) on 15 November 2011. Prior to this appointment, Mr Weeks was A/Director General at DIA.
A Yamatji man with a decade long experience in the public sector, Mr Weeks is committed to improving the economic, environmental and social landscape for Aboriginal people, and to making the department a workplace of choice.
Mr Weeks, who is a student of law, has had a diverse employment background in the public sector having been employed at the Department of Housing and the WA Police.
Q: What does it mean to have an Aboriginal man as the Director General of DIA?
It means that I am able to lead from the front. My Aboriginality helps with my understanding of where people are coming from, what the issues are and how to effectively address them. It also means that some decisions I take might not leave me popular with members of the Aboriginal community, but I’m committed to making decisions that will help foster long-term change.
Q: What is leadership to you?
Attracting and retaining the best talent is a strong aspect of leadership and ensures that we can affect change. DIA has a talented executive that is relatively young, and bring with them innovation and an appetite for the work. DIA needs to be a workplace of choice, by offering flexibility to suit the lifestyle and work style of people we are keen to attract. DIA has to take a strong lead on effective engagement with Aboriginal people within the public sector.
Q: What are your hopes for Aboriginal employment within the sector?
The Government is already doing a lot of work in this area, we are starting to see some good results and it is promising to see the State Government’s commitment to increasing Aboriginal employment across the WA public sector. The Public Sector Commission’s Aboriginal Employment Strategy, which was released last year, is the first step and it includes a number of Aboriginal employment targets including a target of 3.2% employment by 2015.
However, one of the primary challenges is to see more Aboriginal people selected for public sector positions at Senior Executive Service level. We need to further encourage this through initiatives such as mentoring programs, supporting further education and ensuring senior public servants are exposing Aboriginal staff to senior roles and providing them with the necessary support to succeed.
Q: What are the big issues that you will focus on in the next 12-18 months?
DIA will be focused on the legislative reform of the Aboriginal Heritage Act and the divestment of land back to Aboriginal people. DIA will have a key role to play in ensuring the investment in Aboriginal people is effective and will also support programs that expand capacity, develop leadership, encourage reconciliation and develop strong, sustainable partnerships.