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SEPTEMBER 18-20, 2023 

now calling for papers




The 2023 National First Nations Employment & Training Conference will be held at Hilton International Hotel on September 18-20, 2023. This conference is a gathering of Indigenous employment and training professionals from across Australia, providing an opportunity for participants to learn about best practices, share experiences, and network with other professionals in training and employment field. The conference focuses on developing strategies to improve employment outcomes for First Nations Australians and to address the systemic barriers that have historically prevented Indigenous people from accessing quality training and job opportunities.


The conference features keynote speakers and prominent Indigenous leaders who have achieved success despite facing significant barriers. Panel discussions bring together experts from different sectors to discuss specific topics related to Indigenous employment and training. Workshops allow participants to learn practical skills and strategies that they can take back to their own organizations.

The 2023 National First Nations Employment & Training Conference is an important event for Indigenous employment and training professionals in Australia. The conference provides an opportunity for participants to learn from one another, share best practices, and develop strategies to improve employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians. By bringing together experts from different sectors, the conference helps to build stronger connections between Indigenous communities, employers, and training providers, and promotes greater understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities faced by Indigenous job seekers.


This three-day conference will bring together organisations, employers and government agencies to discuss and paint a bigger picture of Indigenous employment.  Over the years, Indigenous employment has changed considerably. Even though Indigenous unemployment rate is high and still unacceptable, reality shows us that the overall picture is getting brighter by the day.  The conference will have an employment trade show as part of the proceedings. This will give participants the chance to look at further opportunities to develop a career path for employers. The conference will have the chance to meet with prospective employment agencies with a view to enhancing partnerships. Similarly, the event will gather employers and businesses who are committed to achieving employment parity to increase Indigenous employment capability and presents an excellent platform for Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander and mainstream businesses to meet, learn and forge new partnerships. No matter which stage is your organisation in your Indigenous employment journey, many employers aspire to a more systemic and sustainable approach by sharing experiences and learnings and exploring barriers and opportunities together towards a culturally safe and inclusive workplaces and leading in Indigenous workforce.


Furthermore, the conference is designed as a collaborative process structured to facilitate an exchange of ideas and information so that joint solutions could be developed. This joint leadership approach served to ensure that our Aboriginal & Torres Straits Islander cultural heritage are acknowledged and celebrated. The 2023 National First Nations Employment & Training Conference will enable employer capability by connecting employers, government, Indigenous employment services, and Indigenous Australians on building an Indigenous talent pipeline and aids in building and implementing an Indigenous Employment Strategy.

In the past, Aboriginal & Torres Straits Islander peoples’ main opportunity to securing long term employment was either by government or within their own community organisations. However, employment within the community were limited at best and in many cases, were only short term and dependent on funding. Government in the past had develop many limited employment programs between six weeks, six months and in some cases up to twelve months with all the best intentions. Things like the RED Scheme, CDEP, just to name a few but as we all know, after people developing work skills and a culture of being employed found themselves with a whole range of new meaningful skills and nowhere to use these new-found skills. Thus, participants become frustrated and disheartened. Most of these programs in the past did have short-term benefits. Today employment is seen as more than just a job. It’s a pathway to economic empowerment for the individual; and therefore, leads to empowerment of our communities which in turn, feeds Indigenous self-determination together with a healthier mind, body and soul.




The conference is designed to equip and empowers delegates and drives Aboriginal & Torres Straits Islanders forward as people.  The conference will also take an in-depth look at present day government policies and how they may affect our future.  Today we have the largest number of representatives ever elected.  This has in some way given Indigenous people a voice to the highest  level in Local, Territory, State and federal governments.

The Australian Government has set three clear priorities for its Indigenous Advancement strategy to make sure efforts are effectively targeted:

  • The positive impact that education has on the future success of individuals, families and communities is clear. Children who go to school have better life outcomes.

  • Employment, economic development and social participation improve the lives of families and communities. The right conditions and incentives need to be in place for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in the economy and broader society.

  • Growing up in a healthy and safe home and community is essential for families to thrive and reach their full potential. 

Even though we still have a long way to go, the opportunities to develop career pathway is now possible. Aboriginal medical services have grown to such a size where you no longer could be just an Indigenous health worker but indeed, progress to nursing or even to become a specialised health professional e.g. doctors, surgeon, physiotherapist, etc. Education is and remains to be the catalysts for employment. From Mr. Charles Perkins becoming the first Indigenous person to graduate from a university to the Closing the Gap report which highlighted the numbers of increasing Indigenous university graduates indicates that Indigenous communities are moving forward in such a way that our community groups, educational organisation and government are all working together to create the opportunities for Indigenous advancements through a holistic approach whether it was designed that way or not.



Indigenous enterprises is key to increasing employment and strengthening the Indigenous economy. However, many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses fail within their first year in practice. Establishing collaborative partnerships between Indigenous businesses, communities, government bodies and mainstream organisations is beneficial for all parties involved. And most importantly, it helps Indigenous communities and corporations to regain the control of their economy and wealth. To succeed in the sustained employment of Indigenous workforces, organisations must further their communication and collaboration, and develop their processes to meet changing policies.  


One of the key themes of the conference is the importance of cultural safety in the workplace. Many Indigenous people have experienced discrimination and racism in their previous workplaces, which has led to high rates of turnover and disengagement. Creating culturally safe workplaces is essential for Indigenous employees to feel valued, respected, and supported in their roles. The conference provides opportunities for participants to learn about different approaches to creating culturally safe workplaces and to share their own experiences and best practices. Another important theme of the conference is the need to address the skills gap that exists for many Indigenous job seekers. Indigenous Australians have lower levels of educational attainment and face significant barriers to accessing quality training opportunities. The conference provides a forum for participants to share their experiences and strategies for addressing the skills gap, including through partnerships with employers, vocational education providers, and community organizations.


Similarly, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students achieve lower educational outcomes than their non-Indigenous peers. Government and communities must work together in getting children to school, improving their results and supporting families to give their children the best start in life will help to close the educational gap as good education helps keep culture strong and lets future generations share stories about their community, culture and kinship. 

Therefore, to further close the gap on Indigenous employment, the conference themes include the following:

I. Indigenous Education
   Improve students' attendance rate through effective engagement 
   Increase academic outcomes by focusing on connection to culture and identity in classrooms 
   Develop culturally safe and responsive teaching methods for First Nations children 
   Develop sustainable pathways into higher education and employment

II. Indigenous Employment
   Achieve consistent opportunities and develop processes to meet changing policies
   Improve and strengthen employees’ transitions into meaningful employment 
   Support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people into employment 
   Create sustainable pathways into employment 
   Develop an inclusive work environment that celebrates Indigenous culture 
   Effectively attract, upskill and retain Indigenous employees 
   Develop employment strategies that focus of creating a healthy work environment
   Build trusting and collaborative partnership with communities, families and Elders 

III. Indigenous Economic Development
   Strengthen Indigenous enterprises through partnerships and collaborations 
   Build a useful business network through collaboration to deliver mutually beneficial goals 
   Effectively maintain partnerships for sustainable business outcomes  
   Build capability and capacity for Indigenous business owners 
   Drive financial independence and wealth creation opportunities for businesses and communities 
   Develop strategies for industry and government to engage with Indigenous communities to build stronger business networks 
    Advance business opportunities in rural and regional location

The conference will highlight how First Nations and mainstream businesses are working together with government and Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander peoples to find innovative ways to address the above topics. The conference will include keynote speakers, practical workshops, exhibitions/expo and concurrent sessions as well as yarning circles and interactive panel discussions. The conference is not politically based, rather should be seen as an opportunity to access information that is not readily available. 


The 2023 National First Nations Employment & Training Conference aims to give a voice to Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander peoples to share their concerns, their story and experiences whilst seeking or maintaining employment. This conference presents a chance for Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander workers to engage with industry leaders and peers, to learn cutting edge innovations and techniques as well as hear firsthand experiences from Aboriginal and Torres Straits Islander peoples.  The conference is part of a great new initiative in which the conference will be only one of three First Nations conferences linked together to maximise networking and growing First Nations economic and business opportunities. The 2023 National First Nations Business Conference and 2023 Internnational First Nations Tourism Conference will be staged at the same venue on the same date to make these conferences successful in attracting delegates from businesses, tourism and employment sectors both from state, national and international cohorts in achieving recognition as an excellent forum for those with a common interest in First Nations economic development. 

Each of these conferences are stand-alone events; however, in some cases, the prevalence of the same topic are intertwined, it is possible have keynote sessions or discussion panels involving delegations from all three conferences. This unique concept will allow individuals to choose sessions at any of the three events at any given time. For after all, in real terms as a business, whether in a tourism business or hospitality business in general, employment is definitely a prominent issue at this point in time. Thus, all three events will highlight issues that cut across all three parts. The conference motto is economic freedom without being paid to be poor. The conference will focus on the positives happening in First Nations communities throughout Australia.
The conference objectives are designed to empower and stimulate discussion in a positive manner that can and may be used back in our work environments to further develop strength, unity and education. Moreover, one of the most powerful objectives that Indigenous peoples have is the strength to overcome adversity through the power of sharing knowledge and therefore the conference will attempt to foster all of the issues set out in this conference. The conference believes that the participation of First Peoples in the consultation, planning, formulation of policies and programs is fundamentally important to achieve our desired goal for Indigenous economic development. Moreover, the conference also aims to:

  •  Provide an open and frank forum for discussion

  • To promote Aboriginal self determination and self management

  • To promote further First Nations economic, social and cultural development

  • To highlight that First Nations Peoples are intricate part of the Australian fabric

  • To promote leadership in Indigenous communities

  • To highlight First Nations Peoples are succeeding

  • To promote First Nations Peoples will remain a part of Australian society well past 2020

  • Capture, disseminate educational knowledge and consolidate the latest developments

  • Strengthen the existing networks of practitioners, policymakers, planners


This conference presents a unique opportunity for delegates to participate in a positive environment that is dedicated to the sharing of information and the empowering of all who attend. In our everyday working environment the day to day stresses of our positions tends to limit us in expanding our knowledge and networking. Whether you work at a community level or at governmental level the opportunity to network and gain contacts outside of your local region tend to be limited, this is why this conference will be so valuable to participants. Hence, all Indigenous people and non-indigenous people whether you’re a tourism operator or employed in the industry, who have a vested interest in First Nations Tourism, First Nations Business & First Nations Employment towards self-determination are invited to attend. This conference presents a unique opportunity for attendees to participate in a unique event which is devoted to the sharing of information and the empowering of project officers and workers in the field of Indigenous advancement strategy programs. In our everyday working environment the day to day stresses of our positions tends to limit us in expanding our knowledge and networking. Whether you work at a community level or at governmental level the opportunity to network and gain contacts outside of your local region tend to be limited, this is why this conference will be so valuable to participants.


  • Indigenous Men & Women

  • Indigenous Business Operators

  • Aboriginal Community Groups

  • Community Elders/Leaders

  • Employment Agencies and RTOs 

  • Researchers

  • Policy makers

  • Community representatives

  • Government – Local, State/Territory and Commonwealth

  • Students & Jobseekers

  • Community cooperatives

  • CEOs, Executive Management, Program Managers

  • Government and Non-Government Organisation Representatives

  • Economists, Researchers, Scientists

  • Chairs, Principals and Board Members

  • Department Heads: Indigenous Education, Economic Development, Indigenous Employment

  • Aboriginal Corporations

  • Aboriginal Councils and Shires Not-for-Profits

  • Mainstream Corporations

  • Public & Private Schools

  • Higher Education



We wish to invite Indigenous and non-Indigenous tourism business operators from Australia and throughout to attend the conference to share and gather information. We also extend an invitation to participants to join us at the conference dinner in a relaxed atmosphere. To ensure that delegates attend and participate, it is important to note that to show accountability of delegates in meeting their obligation, each delegate will receive a Certificate of Attendance only when they attend 85% of all the conference sessions. In addition, delegates will receive a compilation of all papers & presentations presented at the conference.​


Who:     First Nations Peoples, Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Businesses, Government Agencies & Others

When:   September 18-20, 2023

Where:  Hitlon International Hotel Cairns QLD

Time:     9.00am – 5.00pm

Conference Networking Dinner 


Come and celebrate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, strengths, successes and empowerment. So that we may share each other’s stories and ideas in an atmosphere that empowers and strengthens all delegates.



​As an employee, professional development is an ongoing process and needs to be kept continually updated with the latest industry trends and methodology.  Listed below are valid points that can be put forward to the employer to justify your attendance at the conference.

  • Staff attending conferences regularly tends to become long term employees.

  • An event such as this adds to the positive morale of staff.

  • Conferences are a great way of providing ongoing training.

  • Provides the opportunity to further enhance the organisations knowledge base.

  • Allows delegates to showcase the organisation nationally and internationally.

  • Provide opportunities for organisations to develop new ideas and program innovations.

  • Gives organisations a voice at a national level.

  • Provide an opportunity to evaluate various programs

  • The event is conducted over a 2 or 3 day period, hence staff are only absent for a minimal amount of time.


Guidelines in Submitting Paper:

  • Papers should not contain offensive language and take into account cultural sensitivities of Australian first nation people.

  • Papers must treat the themes in a manner that contributes to further discussion of conference aims.

  • Conference papers must be presented in the finish format not less than 60 days prior to the event.

  • Second round of calling for papers closing date will be on June 30, 2023 

  • Papers that are not chosen in the first round may be resubmitted in the second round

  • Papers MUST be submitted in Microsoft Word format.  Papers other than this format will NOT be considered.

  • Authors of papers presented at the conference will be formally notified of their acceptance in writing.

  • Registration fee of $750 will apply to all persons submitting papers payable within 7 days upon notification  acceptance of papers.

  • Papers should explore ways in which the themes show up in the philosophy of the conference.

  • All papers must be presented in a positive and informative light.

  • To submit a paper, please complete the online form at this link: SUBMIT A PAPER HERE



​(This agenda is not final and published only to guide those who will be submitting paper. It will change without prior notice. Please visit this website for future updates)

​DAY 1 - SEPTEMBER 18, 2023

8:00am    REGISTRATION        
9:00am    Welcome to Country, Cultural Performance & Group Photo     
9:30am    Formal Opening Keynote: First Nations Peoples Connection to Land, Sea & Country   
10:30am  MORNING BREAK~Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers  
11:00am  KEYNOTE   Driving Indigenous prosperity through collaboration
11:45am  KEYNOTE   Developing employment strategies for a healthy work environment
12:30pm  LUNCH BREAK~Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers
1:30pm    CONCURRENT SESSIONS:                        
                  A.     Developing strategies to strengthen Indigenous leadership and capability

                  B.     Advancing Indigenous economic development

                  C.     Tackling the challenges of operating a business in rural and remote Australia
2:15pm    CONCURRENT SESSIONS:                    
                  A.     Accelerating the growth of Indigenous women in workforce and leadership roles

                  B.     Improving educational outcomes for

                  C.     Providing incarcerated Indigenous people with greater opportunities through continuous upskilling and training
3:00pm    AFTERNOON TEA~Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers  
3:30pm    KEYNOTE Identifying new opportunities and growing your Indigenous business by diversifying your income
4:15pm    YARNING CIRCLE ~ Reflections of the Day                           

​DAY 2 - SEPTEMBER 19, 2023

8:30am    REGISTRATION           
9:00am    KEYNOTE   Empowering the Indigenous community by instilling a strong sense of cultural identity and belonging
9:45am    KEYNOTE   Engaging families and amplifying partnerships through connected learning
10:30am  MORNING TEA~Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers     
11:00am  KEYNOTE   Practical strategies to prepare Indigenous young people for work

11.45am  KEYNOTE   Supporting Indigenous female entrepreneurship

12:30pm  LUNCH BREAK~Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers     


                  A.   Digital Technology - An alternative for remote employment service delivery

                  B.   Co-designing culturally appropriate programs and initiatives to improve development outcomes for Indigenous children

                  C.   How to effectively increase student attendance and engagement by unlocking student agency and building cultural pride

2:15pm    CONCURRENT SESSIONS:          
                  A.   Barriers to employability for Indigenous Youth At-Risks

                  B.   Developing cross-sector partnerships for financial stability and sustainability

                  C.   Effectively attract, upskill and retain Indigenous employees

3:00pm    AFTERNOON TEA~Network with Exhibitors & Service Providers    
3:30pm    KEYNOTE  Strengthen Indigenous enterprises through partnerships and collaborations

4:15pm    YARNING PANEL             

5:00pm    CULMINATION ~ END OF CONFERENCE: Distribution of Certificates  







REGISTRATION FEES (REGISTER TO GET A DISCOUNT!) Please note that registrations are set out in an affordable way for organisations which changes on a monthly basis. Hence, the earlier you register the more savings for your organisation. Registration fees include all day access to the event, available conference papers, daily lunch and refreshments, for registered delegates only.  Fees do not include travel costs or accommodation.  Registration fee is non-refundable and payment  must be received within 7 DAYS from being issued an invoice.  Otherwise, bookings will not be considered.

To register, please click on the registration page and complete the form or you can also request for a conference brochure and the registration form to be sent to you by email at


As they say, all work and no play, makes for a dull conference. The conference dinner will give delegates the opportunity to further enrich and develop their personal and professional contacts whilst letting your hair down in an informal setting. The conference dinner is $150 per person for a three course meal which is additional to the conference registration fees and must be indicated under the section of the conference registration on-line booking form and must be made prior to the event. Additional tickets for an extra non-delegate guest are available at the same cost of $150.00 each, as such delegates are encouraged to bring a guest.

A Cairns Dinner Cruise is the perfect way, to end a perfect day in paradise. Boarding our sailing catamaran at the Marlin Marina, you’ll enjoy an evening of calm water cruising on Trinity Inlet, taking in the sights and sounds of this tropical port city and its surrounding mangroves, as they transition from day to night. Every journey begins with bubbles, as all good dinner cruises should. With your glasses charged, stroll the interior or exterior decks and admire the view as the sky transforms from blue to red to orange and finally a silky black, filled with thousands of sparkling stars. Your journey takes you deep into the heart of Trinity Inlet and across the waterfront precinct of Cairns, from the Cruise Liner Terminal to the Esplanade. The water is calm, the weather mild and the night is yours to enjoy, with entertainment and a delicious  3 Course Buffet Dinner  featuring some of the region’s best produce, including seafood. The luxurious Spirit of Cairns sailing catamaran is fully licensed, selling a range of beverages, including tropical cocktails. This is the ultimate in waterside dining.

When Do We Go

The Spirit of Cairns dinner cruise departs Marlin Marina at 6.30pm and returns at 9pm. Check-in and boarding is at the boat, moored at Marlin Marina, between 6 pm. A complimentary drink is served on arrival and the bar is open for you to relax on board prior to departure. The conference dinner cruise is scheduled for the evening of Day 1.

What Will You See / Do

Enjoy a fantastic evening of calm water cruising with entertainment, delicious 3 course buffet meal and fabulous views, including sunset over the rainforest-clad mountains (depending on the time of year). Starting at Marlin Marina, Spirit of Cairns takes you on a journey deep into the interior of Trinity Inlet and its winding tributaries. Keep your eyes peeled, you might even see a crocodile. The cruise passes along Cairns’ waterfront and Esplanade precinct, delivering panoramic views of the twinkling night lights of this port city.

What Do You Need To Bring / Wear

​Yourself and your smile, for a great evening ahead. Tropical cocktail attire is suggested, with a light jacket for the winter months. Footwear is mandatory, with suitable shoes for boating recommended. Although it’s a calm water cruise, you will find it more comfortable moving around the boat in flat rubber soled shoes. Don’t forget to bring a little cash, EFTPOS or credit card for your bar purchases.

Highlights & Inclusions

  • A 2.5 hour calm water sunset / evening cruise

  • Luxurious air-conditioned vessel

  • Large outdoor decks

  • Complimentary glass of sparkling wine, beer or soft drink on arrival

  • Delicious hot and cold 3 course buffet, featuring fresh seafood and local produce

  • Live Music by some of Cairns’ best musicians



The Hilton International Hotel is located in the heart of Cairns CBD & close to the departure point for daily trips to the Great Barrier Reef & other natural attractions. Featuring a central location in the heart of Cairns, Hilton International Hotel offers guests an excellent base from which to explore the city. 

Flexible sponsorship packages are available. Sponsorship opportunities are only open to businesses and private enterprises, not individuals. To showcase your organisation to all conference delegates, ICS has developed hassle-free promotional opportunities and sponsorship package according to your budget and tailored to your organisation’s needs. 

Sponsorship packages are available to sponsor the event as:

  • Gold Sponsorship ($10,000) includes: (1) Keynote session or (2) Break-out sessions, (2) Waived registration fees for your selected staff, (2) Complimentary seats at networking conference dinner, (2) Complimentary display table & (1) USB with photos for reporting purposes.

  • Silver Sponsorship ($7,000) includes: (1) Keynote session, (1) Waived registration fees for your selected staff, (1) Complimentary seats at networking conference dinner, (1) Complimentary display table & (1) USB with photos for reporting purposes.

  • Bronze Sponsorship ($5,000) includes: (1) Break-out Session, (1) Waived registration fee for your selected staff, (1) Complimentary Display Table & (1) USB with photos for reporting purposes.


To sponsor the conference, please contact us. Indigenous Conference Services (Australia) will be of further assistance in tailoring your sponsorship arrangement. Please phone us on +61 4557 76 668 or send us your expression of interest by e-Mail: 




Due to COVID-19, please follow the advisory from your state public health directive. One of the prohibitive factors in attending a conference is the airfare component. Our company strives in making our event a lesser burden on the individual or organisation by negotiating competitive and affordable travel packages. Indigenous Conference Services (Australia) also recognises that some NGO’s or other agencies will need to seek additional funding to attend, therefore First Nations Travel Agency quotation can be made out to either pay ASAP or to consider the time that is required to obtain funding. For the best possible airfares and seat availability, please confirm your attendance ASAP. All of our bookings is made through First Nations Travel, a new 100% indigenous owned travel agency here to make booking your flights stress-free and relaxing for an enquiry please phone us on +61 4557 76 668 or send us your expression of interest by email:


First Nations Travel Agency

Contact:  Phone 07 40009111

 Email. to request a quote. 

With the ever-changing COVID-19 restrictions, First Nations Travel Agency temporarily encourages delegates and/or their organisations to book for your airfares online by yourself so that if something goes wrong, you have greater access to your bookings if required. However, First Nations Travel Agency can assist with your accommodation needs to avail yourself of the special delegate discount rates. FNT & Indigenous Conference Services has negotiated special rates for delegates and speakers attending the conference, when you complete your registration form you will see a sector highlighted accommodation need. It is possible to stay outside the venue however this may lead to a higher cost to your organisation. Please note that when registering you have 7 days from the issue of the conference secretariat to make a payment this is so your accommodation is locked in.


Due to COVID-19 please follow travel advisory from Australian embassy near you.

If you are an international guest or speaker, please note that citizens of some countries require visas before entering Australia. To obtain an Australian Visa, you may require a letter of invitation from the conference secretariat.  To obtain the letter of invitation, the guest must have registered for the conference and paid the required conference cost. This is refundable if visas are not approved, you should allow a minimum of 60 days for visa processing at the nearest Australian Embassy.  Please note, processing visa documents in some countries may take longer, depending on your country of origin. Visas can be obtained online from the Australian Federal Government's Department of Home Affairs website at this link



Indigenous Conference Services (Australia)

Postal Address: 8 Kiwi Court, Pt Vernon QLD 4655 Australia



Phone: 07 40009111, +61 4557 76 668







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