Central Desert Regional Council

Central Desert Regional Council has been selected as an Employer of Choice in The Australian Business Awards 2021. The Australian Business Award for Employer of Choice [EOC] recognises organisations that develop workplaces that maximise the full potential of their workforce through established policies and practices which demonstrate effective employee recruitment, engagement and retention.

“Central Desert Regional Council is proud to be recognised as an Employer of Choice at the Australian Business Awards 2021. We have worked hard over a number of years to become a fairer workplace with a ‘no surprises’ culture. This award recognises the effort of all of our staff throughout this period. We work in a challenging environment – physically, geographically and culturally, but our people come to Central Desert Regional Council for a challenge, an adventure and for personal and professional growth. It’s very exciting for our staff to be recognised on a national stage and that a relatively small and isolated organisation can accomplish that. Recruiting to remote indigenous communities is perpetually challenging, our Employer of Choice award will help us to spread the message that we are an organisation that values our staff and that making a decision to live and work in remote Australia can be a positive and rewarding career choice.”

Diane Hood, CEO, Central Desert Regional Council

Think red sand, vast distances, the outback…. Central Desert Regional Council (CDRC) is a local government entity operating in the Central Australia region, Northern Territory, covering an area of over 282,000 square kilometers and servicing 4,231 residents. Formed in 2008, CDRC covers an area from the Queensland border to the Western Australian border, encompassing a vast area with multiple cultures and persistent challenges. The area is home to the most disadvantaged people in the Northern Territory, and CDRC’s core mission is to build sustainable communities through service delivery, advocacy, and community engagement.

From its service centres in Alice Springs, Atitjere, Engawala, Anmatjere (servicing Wilora, Nturiya and Pmara Jutunta), Willowra, Laramba, Yuelamu, Yuendumu, Nyirripi and Lajamanu, CDRC delivers municipal services such as rates, roads and rubbish. CDRC delivers a range of agency services such as Aged Care, Children’s Services, Youth Sport and Recreation and Community Safety Patrols across the region, and also fills a number of contracted services in its communities such as maintaining airstrips, Australia Post and Centrelink service provision. CDRC employs 240 staff, over 65% of whom identify as Indigenous, and most who speak English as a second or third language. This allows its staff to deliver community led, culturally appropriate outcomes to communities as demonstrated in CDRC’s strategy: Two Ways – One Outcome.

CDRC’s entry to the Employer of Choice award is a story of change. Change to make the workplace fairer and more equitable, change to spell out expectations clearly and to measure and report on performance. Change to recognise and reward staff who embody the values of our Council and to provide training, succession and career development opportunities for all staff. While CDRC works in its cultural and geographical context it provides workplaces with an exceptional safety record – recently achieving 18 months of no lost time injuries, clear and equitable remuneration for all staff, and a place where everyone can grow and develop themselves personally and professionally.

The CDRC EOC entry is to be celebrated with staff and the change journey they have undertaken, recognising that it has been a long process and sometimes disruptive. Accountability has been a key achievement with its numerous outcomes to improve residents’ lives outlined in its Annual Reports (online at www.centraldesert.nt.gov.au).

With its ongoing commitment to community and employee engagement, CDRC now represents a cohesive organisation, working together for its communities.

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