Reducing barriers to employment for Aboriginal people: rethinking the role of criminal record checks

RMIT Researchers

  • Professor Bronwyn Naylor (GSBL)
  • Stan Winford (CIJ)
  • A/Prof Georgina Heydon (GUSS)

Project Description

Aboriginal communities have highlighted the serious hurdles to employment posed by employers’ use of criminal record checks, irrespective of the relevance of the criminal history. Access to fulfilling employment and effective community participation is critical to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal people and to Aboriginal self-determination. This project is a partnership between RMIT University and three Aboriginal-led organisations to find ways to improve employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, and to support employers in recruitment of Aboriginal people. The aims of the project include working with employers in the private and public sectors to identify existing good practice in managing risk and supporting opportunities for employment, and to communicate these practices to jobseekers and employers in ways that can be readily adopted.


  • Woor-Dungin
  • Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation
  • VACCHO (Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations)



Key Words

Employment; Aboriginal; criminal history; health; self-determination

Funding Sources

  • Legal Services Board
Naomi Murphy, Georgina Heydon, Bronwyn Naylor, Christa Momot, Michael Bell, Stan Winford, Sue-Anne Hunter L-R: Team members Naomi Murphy, Georgina Heydon, Bronwyn Naylor, Christa Momot, Michael Bell, Stan Winford with Sue-Anne Hunter
Rethinking Criminal Records L-R: Winda-Mara's Michael Bell, Reason Party MP Fiona Patten, Woor-Dungin's Naomi Murphy and CIJ's Stan Winford
aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business. - Artwork created by Louisa Bloomer