Who are Aboriginal people?

Aboriginal people are the oldest living culture in the world and have strong cultures and communities. The resilience of Aboriginal people provides the foundation upon which to build further efforts to improve Aboriginal health.

To identify as Aboriginal encompasses not just the physical wellbeing of an individual but refers to the social, emotional and cultural wellbeing of one's whole community as well as an understanding of what it is to be Aboriginal that has been passed down from generation to generation, not brought in or learned academically. For members of the Stolen Generation this means that they may be unable to find their family and reconnect with Country, language, tradition, knowledge and spirituality. This can be an extremely difficult and sensitive issue.

Within NSW Health, the term 'Aboriginal' is generally used in preference to 'Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander', in recognition that Aboriginal people are the original inhabitants of NSW.

Citing Your Aboriginality

Respectfully, each and every Aboriginal person has the inherent right to cite their Aboriginality as they choose.

Essentially the statutory requirements for Aboriginality are simple and based upon descent. Further descriptors are now recognised but are at the discretion of the individual.

It is part of a NSW Health manager's role to support you to explore options for corroborating your Aboriginality. Each individual will "describe" themselves differently - some will cite family, some will cite where they are from and others will cite their sense of belonging.

The "Aboriginal Three Point Identification" is a social definition, rather than a racial one:

  • Descent (the individual cites that a parent is of Aboriginal descent),
  • Self-identification (the individual identified as an Aboriginal) and
  • Community recognition (the individual is accepted as such by the Aboriginal community in which he/she lives or works)

  • Respect all descriptors - each individual has that inherent right and once you have engaged and paid respect to their voices - you will hear their story and come to understand them

Options for Corroborating your Aboriginality

There are options available to you for corroborating your Aboriginality. It may be beneficial in the first instance to seek advice from a local incorporated Aboriginal organisation or your Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC). Other options include:

Be mindful that some options may not always meet the timing of the recruitment process as processing may be lengthy. Some agencies in NSW Health may make specific requests about the types of information that support them to view information about Aboriginality. Also applicants may have their own personal preference on the information or types of information they want to provide.

If hiring agencies have specific information they prefer to see, applicants will be advised by agency representatives. More information about Aboriginal family history is available at The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies.

Sometimes applicants will have personal preferences about how they present information or limits about the types of information they can or are willing to provide. Sometimes this can influence how applications are assessed.

  • Be sure to inform any referees or contact people citing your Aboriginality that you are applying for a job in NSW Health and confirm that they are willing and available to support your application.

Use of a statutory declaration

A statutory declaration is a written statement which a person swears, affirms or declares to be true in the presence of an authorised witness - usually a JP, a lawyer or a notary public.
A NSW statutory declaration is made under the Oaths Act 1900.
To use a statutory declaration to corroborate your Aboriginality, please refer to:

  • If you have or are working in an Aboriginal identified or targeted role within any public sector organisation you are not required to produce additional evidence of Aboriginality when applying for such a role in NSW Health. However, further information may be sought in an interview about your links to the community.