Every Australian – no matter where they live or their background – should have the opportunity to be their best and realise their full potential, Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said yesterday.
This statement marks 10 years since the Apology to the Stolen Generations, a watershed moment where Australians came together to acknowledge the gross wrongdoings of the past.
“Today, 10 years on, we stand here celebrating Indigenous economic success,” Westacott said. “After the Apology, the Business Council ran its first Indigenous Engagement Survey and found of 94 businesses, 21 said they had an Indigenous employment strategy. It’s now tripled to 62 businesses. Nine companies had a Reconciliation Action Plan a decade ago. It’s now more than 50.
“Business Council member companies now employ more than 20,000 Indigenous Australians. Woolworths and Wesfarmers together have more than 7500 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees, including an increasing number in management roles.”
Since 2014, Business Council member companies have spent or contracted over $2 billion dollars with Indigenous owned businesses and joint ventures. Business Council member companies are also in the process of examining their supply chains and exploring ways to enhance their work with Indigenous businesses. The Business Council has teamed up with Supply Nation on the Raising the Bar initiative.
“While we continue to narrow the divide, we must also work to unleash the potential of all Australians. Economic advancement at an individual, family and community level is one of the best ways to create the type of opportunities that can deliver real, genuine and lasting change,” Westacott said.
“The Apology enabled us to move forward with hope and optimism, backed by programs such as Closing the Gap and the national Reconciliation Action Plan,” she added. “Business stands ready to work with government to unlock opportunities for Australians, regardless of their background or where they live. And together – as a nation – we can all realise our potential.”