The Royal Australian Navy has appointed a full-time Navy Indigenous Adviser and Navy Indigenous Champion from the senior leadership team, as part of Navy’s commitment to the Defence Reconciliation Action Plan 2019-2022 (D-RAP).
Lieutenant Commander Samuel Sheppard is the newly appointed Navy Indigenous Adviser and will provide cultural advice to Navy’s senior leadership team, Navy Diversity and Inclusion Council, and all commands afloat and ashore.
Commodore Mal Wise has taken up the role as the Navy Indigenous Champion to advocate for Indigenous participation within Defence, and to drive cultural awareness through Navy-specific and Whole-of-Defence initiatives.
Minister for Defence, Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC said the D-RAP plan, which was launched last August, articulates Defence’s dedication and contribution to the whole-of-government’s Closing the Gap strategy.
“This commitment goes well beyond attracting, recruiting and retaining Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Minister Reynolds said.
“While recruitment and retention is a major objective of the plan, it also commits the Australian Defence Force to reflecting a shared national identity that values and recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and histories in the work that Defence does.”
Lieutenant Commander Sheppard and Commodore Wise have been formally appointed to their new roles through a virtual, COVID-19 safe ceremony on the GovTeams platform.
Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Michael Noonan, AO, RAN welcomed their appointment.
“In marking this occasion, I would like to acknowledge Navy’s Senior Indigenous Member, Commander Bert Slape, who has provided significant support and guidance to lead Navy’s Defence Reconciliation Action Plan commitment since 2017,” Vice Admiral Noonan said.
“As the Senior Indigenous Member in Navy, Commander Slape will continue to be active in this area by providing mentorship to Lieutenant Commander Sheppard over the coming months.”