ABS employee wins national diversity award

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10 November 2017
Embargoed: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

ABS employee wins national diversity award

An Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) employee whose hearing impairment helps him support staff from diverse backgrounds has won the 2017 Individual Australian Public Service (APS) Diversity Award.

Justin Lokhorst won the Individual category at Wednesday's awards ceremony in Canberra for his personal contribution to promoting diversity and inclusion in his agency.

Hosted by the Australian Public Service Commission, the awards honour outstanding contributions to workplace diversity and gender equality across the APS.

In nominating their Adelaide-based Director for the award, Mr Lokhorst's ABS Building and Construction team described him "as an inspirational leader who shows genuine understanding and compassion".

'I'm honoured and humbled to win the individual award for Diversity and Gender Equality," Mr Lokhorst said.

"Speaking openly about my hearing impairment has encouraged others to speak about their circumstances and, in turn, promoted increased awareness and inclusiveness in our workplace," he said.

"The recognition from my staff is the real reward here. Creating an environment of inclusiveness and acceptance is important for everybody, especially those marginalised in some way. I feel privileged to have made a positive impact on their lives and hope my win will inspire more managers to lead with a compassionate 'people first' approach."

ABS Diversity and Inclusion Champion Samantha Palmer said Mr Lokhorst's award was well deserved as he personally was walking the talk in ensuring ABS has a more inclusive and diverse workplace.

"Justin is a positive role model who enables everyone to feel valued, respected and able to contribute their talents to the enduring success of the ABS," Ms Palmer said.

"He is a great example of how our staff have embraced the welcoming of diversity in all its forms in the ABS and supporting everyone to contribute fully and feel valued.

"The ABS is working hard with the benefit of great people like Justin, our Diversity Champions and our active staff networks to improve and support diversity in the ABS and the APS."

The ABS would also like to acknowledge the APSC for its role in hosting the APS Diversity and Gender Equality Awards and congratulate the other 2017 winners: DFAT (Gender Equality), NDIA (Department/Agency), and ATO Making Inclusion Count LGBTI+ network (Network).

This award follows the ABS being awarded as a finalist in the Australian HR Institute 2016 Dame Quentin Bryce Award for Gender Equity in the workplace for its work to improve SES gender equity from 21 per cent female in June 2015 to 43 per cent female in late 2015 and 50 per cent female SES by June 2017.

For further details of the 2017 APS awards visit the website for the Australian Public Service Commission: www.apsc.gov.au

Media contact: For more information and interview opportunities, phone 1300 175 070 or email media@abs.gov.au