Why businesses and indigenous Australians are engaging more

By Harry Allan

The campaign by Australia’s biggest businesses to boost engagement with Indigenous communities is gaining momentum, with Indigenous employment levels surging 30 percent among Business Council member companies since 2014.

The Business Council of Australia’s two-yearly Indigenous Engagement Survey report reveals there were more than 20,000 Indigenous Australians working for member companies – up from 15,000 in 2014 and 12,000 in 2012.

Releasing the report today, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said: “This report shows large businesses are working hand-in-hand with Indigenous communities across our nation to create new economic and employment opportunities, from land management projects in the remote desert to designing apps for Indigenous businesses in our towns and cities.

“This report tells us that Indigenous engagement has become core business for large Australian companies and we think that’s a success story worth acknowledging.

“We want to see more Indigenous people sharing benefits of prosperity through better, higher paid jobs that celebrate the dignity of work, and new opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs and enterprises. The corporate sector will be absolutely vital to achieving that.

“Companies are increasingly recognising that diverse workforces and supply chains add to their strength as businesses. Since the first survey in 2009 the number of Business Council member companies with Indigenous engagement activities has grown from 30 to 90 per cent,” Westacott said.

Key findings of the report include:

• At least 20,000 Indigenous Australians are working at Business Council companies

• $355,776,619 spent with Indigenous enterprises

• $40,064,000 contributed towards Indigenous education initiatives

• 77,920 pro bono hours provided to Indigenous organisations and communities

• 90 percent of companies surveyed have Indigenous engagement activities

• Companies are working with more than 69 Indigenous partner organisations

• There are 965 staff across companies working on Indigenous engagement activities

Read the full report: http://www.bca.com.au/publications/2016-indigenous-engagement-survey

Business Review Australia's December issue is now live. 

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