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Creating a diverse and inclusive workforce

TMR is working towards being recognised as an inclusive organisation which embraces diversity of thought, culture, life experiences and people to ensure we reflect the communities we serve. This section highlights the numerous initiatives, plans, strategies and educational programs the department has to ensure how the department works towards having a diverse and inclusive workforce.

Cultural Capability Action Plan

The department is committed to supporting the government in delivering the Cultural Capability Action Plan and continues to focus its activity across the four principles of valuing culture; building leadership and accountability; improving economic participation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People and partnerships with community.

The department is proud of the progress in the principles of valuing culture with the approval of a three-part program to raise cultural capability. The program is aimed at developing and building the cultural competency of departmental staff as well as building on the department’s reputation as a culturally safe work environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and consists of:

  • part one—foundation training to provide a basic level of cultural knowledge and understanding
  • part two—localised training designed around community engagement protocols
  • part three—deliver a culturally safe workplace.

In May 2019, the first activity of this program commenced with 10 Senior Executives participating in a pilot of a Cultural Walking Tour in the Brisbane CBD. The tour takes participants around Brisbane’s central business district to places of cultural significance and significant historical events.

Discussions are held on matters such as:

  • pre-colonial South East Queensland region and cultural connects
  • sacred sites and Aboriginal usage of the Brisbane River
  • inter-tribal events including dispute resolution and
  • ceremonial tournaments of initiates
  • travel patterns and host camps
  • the concept of regional governance.

Case study

Indigenous Australian Science and Infrastructure Development School sponsorship

As part of TMR’s Cultural Capability Action Plan and our commitment to the whole-of-government Reconciliation Action Plan and Indigenous employment, TMR sponsors the Indigenous Australian Science and Infrastructure Development School. The initiative aims to increase the number of Indigenous students studying STEM programs and every year the department have an opportunity to network with 25–30 Indigenous students from all over Queensland and provide insight into the industry. Sponsoring this program demonstrates our commitment to Indigenous employment and provides a targeted networking opportunity for recipients to study disciplines associated with TMR. Over 130 students (64 male and 74 female) have attended the program since sponsorship began in 2014. In 2018, TMR staff took students on a tour of the Customer Experience Lab in George Street, Brisbane where they were talked to about how we use the Lab and about customer feedback in general.

Indigenous Employee Network

Through the Inclusion and Diversity Strategy and Cultural Capability Action Plan, the department aims to increase the participation rate of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples employed to three per cent by 2022. The department will do this with the advice and input from our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, who form our Indigenous Employee Network (IEN).

The IEN was formed in November 2016 and membership has grown from 15 to 47 members in 2019. An annual IEN forum is hosted in Brisbane each year and allows members to discuss issues of significance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees within the department and the broader community. The collective knowledge and experience of this group is invaluable and facilitates consultation on cultural priorities for the department.

Table 5: Equal employment opportunities (EEO) in TMR at 30 June 2019

EEO Group Target 2018-19 Head-count** 2018-19 % of TMR- 2017-18 Head-count 2017-18 % of TMR- 2016-17 Head-count 2016-17 % of TMR- 2015-16 Head-count 2015-16 % of TMR- 2014-15 Head-count
Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander 3% by 2022 132 1.44% 122 1.33% 97 1.06% 106 1.19% 107
People from a Non-English speaking background 9.5% by 2022 600 6.53% 596 6.49% 524 5.75% 525 5.90% 535
People with a disability 6.5% by 2022 480 5.23% 543 5.91% 663 7.28% 718 8.07% 771
Women * 4892 53.25% 4885 53% 4844 53% 4703 53% 4,639

Data source: TMR SAP Business Warehouse
* no formal target but we aim for 50/50 - noting this is different to Women in Leadership target.
** Headcount is the actual number of employees at a point in time.

Disability Services Plan

The Disability Services Act (Qld) 2006 (the Act) provides a foundation for promoting the rights of Queenslanders with disability, increasing their wellbeing and encouraging their participation in community life. The Disability Service Plan 2017–2020 (DSP) ensures the department has regard to the Act’s human rights and service delivery principles, and the government’s policies for people with disability. The DSP has a Queensland Government employee focus and touches on broader community actions and services.

In support of the DSP, the department has:

  • signed an agreement with the JobAccess Network to conduct an inclusive recruitment review, with a focus on assessing the steps we can take as a department to ensure accessibility throughout our recruitment and selection practices
  • participated in the first disability Awareness session facilitated by JobAccess. The session provided 45 department staff a general overview of people living with a disability, dispelled myths and taught a range of tips to support good practice in the workplace
  • promoted Disability Action Week 2018 (DAW) with communications from the Director-General and Executive General Manager, Accessible Transport Networks, Kevin Cocks. DAW aims to empower people with disability, raise awareness of disability issues, and ultimately improve access and inclusion throughout the wider community
  • hosted 15 work experience participants on AccessAbility Day in November. AccessAbility Day is an Australian Government initiative that allows employers to connect with jobseekers with disability, to see their potential in the workplace.

The department’s Disability Action Plan 2018–2022 has a dedicated focus on activities to improve accessibility of public transport services.

As TMR’s Diversity Champion, I am focused on building a culture where we acknowledge, celebrate and embrace people’s differences: including different experiences, perspectives, family circumstances, caring responsibilities, culture and religious beliefs.
Mike Stapleton, Cultural Diversity Champion

South East Queensland Indigenous training

RoadTek has an extensive history of providing employment opportunities to Indigenous youth across Queensland. In 2018, RoadTek launched the Indigenous Trainee Program across the South East Queensland Operations Centres. 

Delivered in partnership with the Office of the Commonwealth Games, Department of Education and Training, Programmed (Group Training provider), RudTek (Registered training organisation), nine Indigenous trainees aged 17–24 years took part being hosted in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Downs South West to complete a Certificate II in Civil Construction. 

The program has been a resounding success, with all trainees completing their qualification in early-2019, and most continuing to work with RoadTek after graduation as either permanent employees or Labour Hire staff, while undertaking their Certificate II. This program provides on the job training and experience for the Indigenous trainees new to the construction industry, with seven participants now joining RoadTek’s ranks and continuing their development. 

DG, Neil Scales with eight young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders who have graduated from the 2018 South East Queensland Indigenous trainees program

Eight young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders graduated from the 2018 South East Queensland Indigenous trainees program.


This year the department recognised NAIDOC week under the theme ‘Because of her, we can’. Celebrations were held to commemorate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

TMR celebrated NAIDOC Week all over the state this year with staff attending events at Brisbane, Toowoomba, Carseldine, Barcaldine, Sunshine Coast, Bundaberg, Cairns, Rockhampton. The department’s travelling inflatable car visited our Carseldine and Toowoomba offices during NAIDOC Week asking the community to write a safety pledge on the car. 

This year’s theme acknowledged and was a tribute to Indigenous women who are, in many ways, the backbone of the family unit. As pillars of our society, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women have played—and continue to play—active and significant roles at the community, local, state and national levels.
Frank Waria, Human Resources Branch
Marquees set up in park with the departments inflatable car to the  side.

The department’s inflatable car in Carseldine for NAIDOC Week

Mechanical apprentices shine at the Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia competition

TMR’s heavy vehicle mechanical apprentices represented RoadTek at the 2019 Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA) competition. Entrants completed the initial two-hour theory exam go on to compete in teams to identify and rectify as many identical programmed truck faults within the set timeframe. All 70 nominees across Australia sat the same assessment at the same time, which was 2pm, Wednesday 3 April 2019.

Running from 12–19 May, the Brisbane Truck Show saw five of our third-year apprentices participate in the HVIA’s biennial National Apprentice Challenge, Giustino Dean from Roma/Brisbane, Peter Brown from Toowoomba, Campbell Garson from Bundaberg, Dane Swadling from Rockhampton and James Mullins from Mackay.

Campbell Garson was part of the two-person East Australian Region team who competed in the four day challenge as part of the Brisbane Truck Show. Each team competed in two rounds of heats to qualify for the final, which involved locating nine faults on an IVECO truck in 45 minutes. The final involved 15 faults in 60 minutes. Campbell and his team mate lost the first round to the Southern Region and won their second round finding all of their faults and finishing before the allocated time to receive a bonus point. They placed second after the final by 1.5 points behind the winners.

Campbell Garson also competed at the 2019 WorldSkills competition on 5 April 2019. Running across 34 regional locations, the competition tests the skills and knowledge of over 4000 entrants to diagnose and repair road transport industry equipment, vehicles and machine systems, with winners to compete at the 2020 National Championship. Campbell picked up third prize (Bronze) at the WorldSkills competition.

TMR Accessibility Forum

The TMR Accessibility Forum hosted in Brisbane November 2018 had over 300 participants. Engaging employees across the department to become advocates of change and contribute to delivering our vision of a single integrated transport network accessible to everyone. The purpose of the forum was to build cultural awareness that accessibility will be business as usual and not an add-on. It started the conversation on how accessibility becomes part of the departments culture to ensure no one is left behind in the provision of products, services and infrastructure.

Through creating an empowered and informed workforce, keeping accessibility at the forefront of our minds we will incorporate this approach in everything the department does. Leaders, teams and individuals from a variety of disciplines across the business are working together to deliver all elements of the network through a method of universal design. Undertaking a co-design approach and incorporating the voice of our customers with lived experience to create a fully accessible network.

Being the champion for Women in Leadership is not about championing issues just for women, nor is it just about senior leadership. And it certainly isn’t the role for just one person. It is about showcasing opportunities where we can all work together to achieve gender equality; about how we support women being leaders across our organisation and how together we can move towards a society where gender equality truly exists.
Anne Moffat, Women in Leadership Champion 

Women in Leadership mentoring program

The Women in Leadership (WiL) Mentoring Program is now in its fifth year and designed to help women create broader networks, overcome challenges and breakdown workplace barriers to achieve their goals. It also supports the department’s commitment to increasing women in senior leadership (Senior Officer/Senior Executive Service) positions to 50 per cent by 2022.

TMR’s 2019 WiL Mentoring Program includes an external mentor initiative with nine external government agency mentors joining the program. There are 32 matched pairs as part of the WiL program for 2019.

Table 6: Percentage of women in SES/SO leadership roles

Year %
2012-13 19%
2013-14 25%
2014-15 27%
2015-16 27%
2016-17 30%
2017-18 32%
2018-19 30%

Data Source: TMR SAP Business Warehouse
Notes: Data has been rounded to nearest whole percentage

Case study

Women in Technology Awards

Several of the department’s ICT leaders were recognised at the Women in Technology Awards in September 2018.

Chief Information Officer, Sandra Slater, took home the honourable, ‘ICT Outstanding Achievement Award’ for her significant contribution to the growth and development of Queensland’s ICT industry and for promoting gender diversity in technical professions.

Manager (Digital Capability), Erin van der Veer, received the ‘ICT Rising Star Award’ for her work in leading TMR’s digital capability uplift activities. In the same category, Manager ICT Portfolio Performance Office, Amanda Winslett, was recognised as a finalist for her work in strengthening our ICT governance function.

Women in Technology is the peak industry body for women in the science and technology professions in Queensland. With a clear aim to advance, connect and empower women in technology-related fields, Women in Technology has created a strong network of members from diverse industries.

Amanda Winslett (Director Passenger Transport Technology), Sandra Slater (Chief Information Officer) and Erin Van Der Veer (Manager Digital Capability holding Women in Technology Awards.

Amanda Winslett (Director Passenger Transport Technology), Sandra Slater (Chief Information Officer) and Erin Van Der Veer (Manager Digital Capability) at the Women in Technology Awards.

Women in Engineering Program

The department’s Women in Engineering Program aims to attract, support, retain and celebrate women in engineering by delivering various initiatives aligned to three focus areas:

  • Early awareness – providing opportunity for primary and secondary school students to engage with STEM through relevant activities.
  • Continued engagement – supporting female high school and university students to consider or continue studies in engineering and STEM.
  • Professional Support and Development – retaining, promoting and celebrating females in the engineering profession. 

In 2018, the department supported several initiatives to advance and support women in the engineering profession including an educational bursary, STEM school competition, women in engineering networking events, in-kind support at Queensland University of Technology’s STEM events as well as participating in Aurecon’s Designing Diversity Program.

Shara Evans and Amanda Yeates standing next to the Women in Engineering banner.

Shara Evans and Amanda Yeates at the Women in Engineering sponsored futurist talk at the 2018 Engineering Technology Forum.

Women in Construction

Launched in 2017, the Women in Construction (WiC) program offers training and employment opportunities for women to develop the knowledge and experience to launch a career in civil construction.

WiC candidates participate in a seven-week preparatory program, including formal training and practical experience across various Operations Units. Of the 15 women who have participated in the program to date, five are now permanent employees, and 10 have progressed into labour-hire roles.

This program demonstrates the department’s commitment to improving gender diversity, supporting longer term sustainability and increasing the candidate pool to performance roles across the civil construction industry.

17 female crew standing in front and on a replica story bridge

The latest cohort for WiC experiencing the construction lifecycle in RoadTek.

Gender diversity recognised

Engineers Australia’s Gender Diversity Awards enable outstanding organisations to be promoted for their gender diversity policies and procedures. This award promotes national engineering excellence and the contribution women in engineering make to the community.

The department’s work in the Women in Engineering and Women in Leadership programs received national recognition in 2018 when the department was awarded the ‘Most Outstanding Company in Gender Diversity’ by Engineers Australia’s Women in Engineering National Committee in August 2018.

Amanda Yeates, Deputy Director-General (IMD) holding the Engineers Australia 2018 Awards - Most outstanding company in gender diversity on behalf of TMR.

Amanda Yeates, Deputy Director-General (IMD) receiving the Engineers Australia 2018 Awards - Most outstanding company in gender diversity on behalf of TMR.


Constructionarium Australia Limited (Constructionarium) is a not-for-profit organisation who develop practical and soft skills for early career engineers, through teams of approximately 20 participants working together to construct a scale model of an iconic structure.

Following successful projects in 2016 (replica of Barcelona Tower) and 2017 (replica of Story Bridge), in 2019, TMR supported Constructionarium’s latest project.

This year the project was a 100 per cent female engineering team which constructed a replica of the Eleanor Schonell ‘green’ Bridge. The team of 20 students and graduate female engineers planned and built the replica bridge over 10 days in June 2019.

This unique, hands-on, capability development initiative aims to develop future female engineering leaders, while creating linkages and relationships for engineers at different stages of their career journey and across sectors.

17 female crew standing in front and on a replica story bridge

Constructionarium’s all-female participants with their replica bridge they built over 10 days.

Working flexibly

TMR continues widespread adoption of Flexible Work Practices supported by the Industrial Relations Act 2016.

Below are the 2018 Working for Queensland Employee Opinion Survey results:

  • 65 per cent of employees have used a flexible workplace option
  • 66 per cent of employees are satisfied with their ability to access and use flexible work arrangements
  • 72 per cent of employees believe TMR’s workplace culture supports people to achieve a good work/life balance
  • 74 per cent of employees agree that their workgroup work together to ensure flexible work arrangements meet both individual and business needs
  • 59 per cent of employees believe that their manager proactively discusses flexible work arrangements with their team.

Note: there were 5617 responses to the 2018 Working for Queensland survey, which is around 77 per cent of department.