Monash University has been awarded its second Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE) Cygnet Award, this time for its work in reducing barriers to Indigenous employment.

The University was recognised for actions including appointing Indigenous staff in leadership positions to drive strategies for the recruitment of Indigenous people; and introducing more diverse employment pathways including its Indigenous Graduate Program.

Part of a growing trend towards Indigenous inclusion

SAGE CEO Dr Janin Bredehoeft congratulated the University.

“This award recognises Monash University’s leadership in Indigenous recruitment in the higher education sector.

“At SAGE we’re very pleased to see a growing trend among universities putting time and resources into improving equity for Indigenous staff. It’s a challenging and complex task.

“Monash has stepped up to that challenge and taken innovative steps to offer Indigenous candidates roles that fit their specific strengths, skills and career aspirations. This is a new recruitment approach and it makes more space for Indigenous staff to thrive in the workplace,” Dr Bredehoeft said.

Monash University Interim President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Susan Elliott AM thanked SAGE.

“The policy changes we’ve made across Monash in recent years are having a real impact on our ability to attract, support and retain Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff. We have a long way to go, but with continued strong leadership from both Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff we’ll continue to improve.”

Recruiting for strengths and skills

Andrea Lund is a Wiradjuri woman who joined Monash University solely to recruit Indigenous talent.

Ms Lund’s father was a survivor of the Stolen Generation. She never expected to find a role solely dedicated to Indigenous recruitment. “I’ve found my calling. My sister was an Elder in the community. She passed away last year and I’m trying to pick up the trail she made,” she said.

Andrea Lund, Monash University
Wiradjuri woman Andrea Lund

Ms Lund added that while there were so many different experiences of Indigeneity, her background  helped her to connect with other Indigenous people.

Ms Lund works with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people who express their interest to join Monash. This is not limited to applications for advertised vacancies: Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people can also submit their applications to the professional or academic expressions of interest pool to be considered for future roles.

“There have been times where a person was not the right fit for the advertised position, but we have worked with them to identify the right role for them at the University,” Ms Lund said.

Monash’s application for the Award, detailing their actions, outcomes and impacts, is published in full here.


  • The Cygnet Awards recognise organisations that demonstrate impact in addressing specific barriers to gender equity, diversity and inclusion.
  • Universities and tertiary institutions must already have achieved Bronze accreditation to apply for Cygnet Awards, and once they achieve five Cygnet Awards they are eligible for Silver accreditation.
  • Monash University’s second Cygnet is another step towards Monash earning Silver accreditation in the SAGE Athena Swan program, which is designed to help universities and tertiary institutions  benchmark their work in gender equity, diversity and inclusion against an international standard.
  • Monash University became the first Group of Eight university to earn a Cygnet Award in September last year for work over five years to enhance equity in academic promotions.
  • In December the University won the Australian Human Resources Institute’s “Best Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategy Award” for addressing barriers to Indigenous employment.


Media contact

Heather Champion |

Available for interview

Dr Janin Bredehoeft, Chief Executive Officer, Science in Australia Gender Equity