Community and Diversity
Australian businesses have an important role to play in fostering community wellbeing and promoting social and economic inclusion.
Our Community and Diversity agenda identifies, encourages and advocates for good practice and policy in a range of areas, including: • Indigenous engagement • Mentally healthy workplaces • Disability inclusion • Gender and workplace diversity
We are also part of the Industry Employment Initiative (IEI), led by Social Ventures Australia (SVA), a pilot project which is taking a demand-led approach to the employment of disadvantaged jobseekers by national employers.
The BCA Secretariat contact for community and diversity policy issues is
Jessica Jeeves, Director Policy, Business in the Community.
Momentum Builds Towards Modern Slavery Act
16 August 2017
We welcome the Turnbull government’s announcement that it will pursue a Modern Slavery Act, an initiative that we have vocally supported.
Submission to the Inquiry into Establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia
9 June 2017
Large businesses should take a leadership role on this issue. Large businesses have the resources and expertise required to get a better understanding of their supply chains and their purchasing power gives them the capacity to effect change.
Growing Support For Modern Slavery Act
5 June 2017
Australians’ living standards have risen enormously through greater international trade. However, it has also increased the risk that products and services sold here are tainted by the use of forced labour.
Business Council Announces New Code To Speed Up Payments To Small Business Suppliers
12 March 2017
A voluntary, industry-led effort to drive change in payments culture and practices should be given time to work before any consideration of regulation, which would impose extra costs on all business and taxpayers, says Jennifer Westacott.
No Place For Modern Slavery
29 March 2017
Increased global trade has delivered great benefits for Australians, but it has also increased the risk that products and services have been tainted by the use of forced labour, say Grant King and Jennifer Westacott.
Business Leaders Fight For Australian Prosperity
28 March 2017
More than 70 chief executives representing the nation’s biggest employers are meeting with government and opposition this week to discuss priorities for a more competitive economy and strategies to lift business investment and income growth.
Statement On The Rule Of Law
16 March 2017
All citizens, and especially those of us who are community leaders, have a responsibility to abide by the law and set an example for others, says Jennifer Westacott.
The Numbers Stack Up, Now Let's Get Moving on Infrastructure
1 March 2017
Amid public frustration at the seeming inability of politicians to get things done, Infrastructure Australia's priorities list provides an opportunity for the governing class to prove their doubters wrong, says Jennifer Westacott.
Jennifer Westacott: Priorities for Prosperity
28 January 2017
We must continually strive towards a socially just and cohesive society with better jobs, higher wages and a strong social safety net, writes Jennifer Westacott.
2016 Indigenous Engagement Survey
6 December 2016
Indigenous employment has grown by 30 per cent among Business Council member companies since 2014, our new Indigenous Engagement Survey report shows.
The True Value of Humanities
4 November 2016
Jennifer Westacott on how humanities can play a fundamental role in the prosperity agenda.
Supply Nation's Connect 2016 Keynote Speech by Jennifer Westacott
2 May 2016
Jennifer Westacott speaks about innovation in the face of major technological disruption, and the implications for supplier relationships, entrepreneurship and enterprise creation.
Statement on Constitutional Recognition Referendum Council
7 December 2015
We congratulate Michael Rose, Chair of our Indigenous Engagement Task Force, on his appointment to the Referendum Council.
Boosting Employment Outcomes for People with Disability
29 October 2015
A report which looks at the role business can play in driving greater workforce participation and inclusion for people with disability.
Workforce Inclusion of People with Disability
27 October 2015
This report summarises the results of a survey aimed at generating baseline data and insights about disability employment practices.
New Resource to Help Business Promote Jobs for Indigenous People
27 October 2015
The AHRC and BCA launch ‘Targeted recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people – A guideline for employers’.
Governance is Stronger When Two Worlds Connect
21 October 2015
Independentdirectory is a joint initiative of the Registrar of Indigenous Corporations and the BCA.
Statement on Constitutional Recognition
26 June 2015
The substance of the committee’s position aligns with BCA principles of fairness and shared prosperity.
The Purple House Fund Launch
16 April 2015
Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott will launch the fund at a celebration in Melbourne in support of the Purple House (Western Desert Nganampa Walytja Palyantjaku Tjutaku Aboriginal Corporation).
Supporting and Celebrating Indigenous Initiative and Success
16 April 2015
The Purple House Fund is an initiative that enables patients suffering end-stage renal disease to receive treatment on their country.
The Purple House Fund
15 April 2015
The Purple House, is an Alice Springs-based organisation, providing a unique and innovative community care and social support service for patients suffering end-stage renal disease.
Why Mental Health Matters to Business: Presentation by Jennifer Westacott
15 April 2015
BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott discusses the important role businesses play in tackling mental health.
The Business Case for Addressing Mental Health
13 April 2015
BCA co-hosts workshop to discuss the practical steps businesses can take to reduce the $10.9 billion impact mental health has on the economy.
BCA and Supply Nation Drive Supplier Diversity Discussion
26 March 2015
Supporting the development of the Indigenous business sector is important so that we can drive Indigenous economic development.
Improved Gender Reporting: Article in Women's Agenda
13 March 2015
The new reporting regime takes us a step closer to advancing gender equality so that women and men can thrive equally in the workplaces of Australia.
BCA Welcomes Gender Reporting Changes
25 February 2015
The streamlining of gender equity reporting requirements will help ensure that the data collected is meaningful and not unduly costly for businesses.
Submission on the Constitutional Recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples
It’s time for meaningful change in our constitution to better reflect our history, and the values and aspirations of Australia today.
Australia’s Largest Companies Supporting Indigenous Prosperity
18 December 2014
Almost all of Australia’s largest companies see Indigenous prosperity as something they have a part in actively supporting.
BCA 2014 Indigenous Engagement Survey Report
BCA 2014 Indigenous Engagement Survey shows companies are continuing to explore and find new ways of supporting Indigenous economic and social inclusion.
International Day of People with Disability
3 December 2014
Submission on the Indigenous Jobs and Training Review Report
The government’s response to the review will determine whether Australia capitalises on the commitment of business to boost Indigenous living standards.
Forrest Review a Reminder We Have a Long Way to Go
1 August 2014
Business is making progress in reducing Indigenous employment disparity but Mr Forrest’s report is a timely reminder that we still have a long way to go.
Partnerships to Secure Jobs for Disadvantaged Jobseekers
A set of improvements to employment services for disadvantaged jobseekers, jointly proposed by the BCA, ACOSS and the ACTU.
Alliance Proposes Partnerships to Secure Jobs for Disadvantaged Jobseekers
30 June 2014
The BCA, ACOSS and the ACTU have jointly proposed improvements to employment services to deliver better outcomes for disadvantaged jobseekers.
Heads Up Helps Build Mentally Healthy Workplaces
20 May 2014
Heads Up has the potential to help us all by offering businesses practical advice and resources to help them build mentally healthy workplaces.
Speech by Jennifer Westacott to the Odyssey House Business Luncheon 2014
9 May 2014
BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott speaks to Odyssey House on the topic of ‘Shared Outcomes: The Role of Business in Community Wellbeing.’
Business Council of Australia and Foundation for Young Australians MOU
New partnership between the Business Council of Australia and the Foundation for Young Australians to improve opportunities for young Australians.
BCA–FYA Partnership to Increase Opportunities for Young Australians
28 March 2014
The BCA and the FYA will work together on a range of measures to better prepare young people for the world of work, and reduce youth unemployment.
BCA Welcomes Gender Diversity Reporting Streamlining
25 March 2014
Gender diversity and female workforce participation brings many benefits, but data collection should be streamlined, easily understood and beneficial.
Workplace Gender Equality Reporting: Opinion Article in the AFR
19 March 2014
Streamlined gender reporting and business-specific diversity strategies can improve outcomes for women, business and the economy.
Submission on the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012
Business Council of Australia assessment of proposed new reporting requirements and minimum standards under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
Business Council of Australia and Supply Nation Memorandum of Understanding
12 February 2014
Partnership aimed at achieving shared goals in Indigenous business sector prosperity and supplier diversity.
Supply Nation and Business Council of Australia launch Memorandum of Understanding
10 February 2014
Supply Nation and the Business Council of Australia launch partnership giving Indigenous businesses opportunities to supply goods and services.
Submission on the Indigenous Jobs and Training Review
Submission to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on the Indigenous Jobs and Training Review.
BCA 2013 Indigenous Engagement Survey Results and Progress Report
16 December 2013
Fifth annual survey highlights BCA member efforts to create the social and economic conditions where Indigenous Australians can achieve their potential.
BCA Indigenous Engagement Survey 2013
16 December 2013
An inspiring picture of people working together to create the social and economic conditions where Indigenous Australians can achieve their potential.
Increasing the Number of Women in Senior Executive Positions
5 November 2013
Best practices for the merit-based recruitment, selection and retention of women in senior executive roles.
Speech by Jennifer Westacott to the 2013 Inspire Foundation Breakfast
24 October 2013
Speech by BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott to the 2013 Inspire Foundation Breakfast on the topic of employment and mental health.
Indigenous Job Creation: Article by Tony Shepherd in the AFR
30 May 2013
Business, governments and communities must work with Indigenous Australians to create sustainable jobs and inclusive, respectful workplaces and communities.
National Disability Insurance Scheme: Daily Telegraph Article
3 May 2013
The NDIS is groundbreaking, but it must be properly designed and budgeted for, writes Tony Shepherd in The Daily Telegraph.
Statement on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Levy
1 May 2013
Statement by Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott on the National Disability Insurance Scheme Levy.
Submission to DEEWR regarding Changes to the Indigenous Employment Program Assessment and Funding Processes
IEP-supported programs aid business in boosting their Indigenous workforces.
Indigenous Employment the Key, but Employer-Directed Training Critical
20 March 2013
Jobs are only part of the solution to ending Indigenous disadvantage, BCA President Tony Shepherd says at GenerationOne event in Canberra.
Submission to DEEWR on Improving the Employment Participation of People with Disability in Australia
Requiring employers to report on disability employment would fail to increase the employment of people with disability and impose unnecessary costs.
Statement of Support for Act of Recognition
13 February 2013
Parliament’s adoption of the Act of Recognition is an important step towards a referendum to achieve constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians.
Submission on Reporting Matters under the Workplace Gender Equality Act
The BCA does not support any additional reporting on workplace gender equality issues.
Roundtable Begins Search for Ways to Improve Job Opportunities for Disadvantaged Groups
21 December 2012
A joint roundtable stemming from the collaboration between ACOSS, the BCA, and the ACTU found there are major barriers towards getting unemployed people into jobs.
Improving Indigenous Economic and Employment Outcomes: Lessons from Business Experience
Key ingredients of success and policy lessons for beneficial business–Indigenous engagement.
One Country, Many Voices: Update on the Indigenous Engagement Activities of the BCA and Its Members
23 November 2012
Address by BCA President Tony Shepherd to the Reconciliation Australia Government and Business Luncheon.
BCA 2012 Indigenous Engagement Survey
Indigenous engagement is fast becoming an essential aspect of business practice among Australia’s large companies.
Strong Showing in 2012 BCA Indigenous Engagement Survey
23 November 2012
Indigenous engagement is fast becoming an essential aspect of business practice among Australia’s large companies.
Praise for Indigenous Core Values
15 October 2012
BCA member companies are experiencing the two-way benefits of working with Indigenous organisations and individuals.
Disadvantaged Still Missing Fair Share of Rich Pickings
12 October 2012
Anti-Poverty Week gives the community the chance to reflect on what has been achieved in tackling poverty and disadvantage, and on continuing failures in breaking cycles of disadvantage.
Constitutional Recognition a Goal Worth Getting Right
20 September 2012
An Act of Recognition would move our country toward a referendum for recognition of Indigenous Australians in our Constitution.
Submission to the Senate Inquiry into the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Amendment Bill 2012
Certain parts of the Bill could unnecessarily increase business reporting costs and fail to achieve the objective to improve workplace gender equality.
Submission to the New South Wales Ministerial Taskforce on Aboriginal Affairs
Some key themes that have emerged in feedback provided by BCA member companies through surveys and other forums.
Aboriginal Jobs Push Here to Stay
8 February 2012
Creative initiatives by Australia’s largest businesses are having an increasingly significant impact in supporting Indigenous employment and economic development.
Cultural Recognition Promotes Economic Equality
19 January 2012
Constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians could play an important role in closing economic opportunity gaps between Indigenous and other Australians.
Remove Racism of a Previous Era from the Heart of our Constitution
8 December 2011
Full and equal recognition of Indigenous Australians our Constitution is essential, argues Graham Bradley in The Australian.
Business Trailblazing in Indigenous Economic Engagement
9 November 2011
Business Council of Australia members are reaching out in ever larger numbers to help improve outcomes for Indigenous Australians.
Vision and Values: Working Together to Close the Gap
Business Council of Australia 2011 Indigenous Engagement Survey report.
Submission to the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians
Prepared in response to the discussion paper released by the Expert Panel on Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians as part of its consultation process.
Support for Workers with Disabilities Calls for Three-way Partnership
1 September 2011
Countries such as New Zealand could serve as a model, writes Graham Bradley in The Age.
Submission to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Disability Care and Support
Supports the establishment of a National Disability Insurance Scheme as proposed by the Productivity Commission’s draft report on disability care and support.
Submission to Safe Work Australia on the Draft Model Work Health and Safety Regulations and Model Codes of Practice
The submission highlights the importance of efforts to develop a harmonised national OHS framework to apply across Australia.
Workforce Participation of People with Disabilities: BCA Advocacy
Additional responses to correspondence we have received seeking clarification of our advocacy position and activities in this area.
BCA Not Calling for Disability Support Pensions to be Cut
14 February 2011
The Disability Support Pension forms a vital function in Australia’s welfare system for those who do not have, or have limited capacity, to participate in the paid workforce.
Submission on the Draft Indigenous Economic Development Strategy
Uses the principles put forward by the federal government to analyse the lessons learnt by BCA members in supporting Indigenous economic development, and suggest our top tips for success.
Common Ground, Uncommon Results: Closing the Gap
The strong common ground between business, the community and all sides of politics in the determination to close the gap is cause for real optimism.
Big Business Shows Leadership in Closing the Gap
22 October 2010
BCA members are increasingly active in developing creative strategies to increase Indigenous engagement in the Australian economy.
The Worm Has Turned: Women in Leadership 2010
18 August 2010
Speech by BCA Chief Executive Katie Lahey on the topic of women in leadership.
Closing the Gap Delivers Community-Wide Benefits
1 July 2010
The Goulburn Valley stands to gain sizeable benefits from closing the gap in Indigenous disadvantage.
CEOs Step up to Take Direct Action on Women in Top Jobs
31 March 2010
New mentoring initiative to help high-achieving women rise to the top of the corporate ladder.
Stronger Plans Are Needed to Ensure Gender Parity
16 November 2009
It defies belief that, in a sophisticated and modern country such as Australia, we are even talking about paying a woman the same amount as a man for a day’s work – it should already be long-established practice writes Katie Lahey.
Many Connections, One Goal: Closing the Gap
28 October 2009
A report on BCA member engagement with Indigenous Australian communities.
Indigenous Commitments Welcome but Economic Reform Lags
2 July 2009
The BCA welcomes the agreement by COAG today to step up efforts to close the gap in Indigenous disadvantage, but concerns remain that progress in the vital business deregulation agenda is slipping.
Early Help for Unemployed Important to Lift Participation
24 February 2009
Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Katie Lahey welcomes the announcement by the federal government of immediate assistance for workers facing unemployment as a result of the global economic downturn.
2009 Victorian Bushfire Appeal
9 February 2009
The BCA encourages business and individuals to donate to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.
Push Aside the Fog and Close the Gap
31 October 2008
The Business Council of Australia has a multifaceted social impact, writes Greig Gailey in The Age.
Engaging our Potential: A Checklist to Reduce Barriers to Workforce Participation
04 April 2008
A checklist of ways to address barriers to the recruitment and retention of individuals not currently in the workforce.
The Mutual Benefits of Giving
14 June 2007
Geoff Allen of the Centre for Corporate Public Affairs discusses the release of the ACCPA–BCA report, ‘Corporate Community Investment in Australia’ in an op-ed in The Australian Financial Review.
Corporate Community Investment in Australia
13 June 2007
Australian companies are increasingly pursuing a more strategic, business-focused approach to community engagement.
Understanding the CSR Landscape: A View from CorporateAustralia
5 February 2007
BCA Chief Executive Katie Lahey’s address to the Australian Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility ‘Turning Point’ conference.
Age Can Work: A Business Guide for Supporting Older Workers
17 November 2006
Guidelines to encourage big business to keep more older Australians in the workforce.
Age Can Work: The Case for Older Australians Staying in the Workforce
17 November 2006
ACTU and BCA joint report highlights the potentially massive social and economic impact of Australia’s ageing population, and outlines some policy recommendations.
Submission to the Inquiry into Corporate Responsibility and Triple-Bottom-Line Reporting
Australia’s large corporations are already extensively involved in corporate social responsibility, without the need for government intervention.
Principal for a Day Program Celebrates 5th Birthday
17 August 2005
Katie Lahey, Chief Executive of the Business Council of Australia participated in this year’s Principal for Day program today at Preston Girls Secondary College, Victoria.
Age Can Work: The Case for Supporting Older Workers
14 November 2003
Speech by Katie Lahey, Chief Executive, Business Council of Australia
Business Takes Lead on Ageing Workers
26 August 2003
The Business Council of Australia has released guidelines aimed at encouraging big business to keep more older Australians in the workforce.
Business, Unions Unite for Older Workers
23 April 2003
Australia’s corporate sector and trade unions are working together to boost the number of older people remaining in the workforce.
Corporate Philanthropy: State of Play
17 March 2003
Speech by Katie Lahey, Chief Executive, Business Council of Australia to the Philanthropy Australia Conference
Business–Indigenous Collaboration: First National Report Released
4 December 2001
Many Indigenous leaders are asking business to play a central role in ensuring real jobs in the real economy.
Submission To The Review of Tax And Corporate Whistleblower Protections in Australia
The Business Council supports strengthening Australia's whistleblower protection regime for individuals reporting credible information about corporate misconduct.
The Purple House is an Alice Springs-based organisation with services in a range of Western Desert and Central Australian communities.
Recognising Ability: Business and the Employment of People with Disability
28 October 2015
Launch of the Business Council of Australia's report Recognising Ability: Business and the Employment of People with Disability.
Mentally Healthy Workplaces
The Business Council of Australia is a member of the Mentally Healthy Workplace Alliance.
Businesses want diverse workforces which reflect the community, and attract and retain the best and brightest from all backgrounds and circumstances.