“The Forrest Review ‘Creating Parity’ provides important and welcome recognition of the important interplay of factors that contribute to the disparity in employment outcomes experienced by Indigenous Australians,” BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott said.
“Education, housing, health and justice - as well as respect and recognition - are all important factors in improving overall life outcomes for Indigenous Australians. No approach to employment will be successful over the long term without simultaneously addressing these factors, and the way services and funding are coordinated and delivered.
“We support the Review’s recommended expansion of the successful school-based traineeship program and the broadening of eligibility for cadetships. We want to actively assist in the development of forums for employers to share good practice and collaborate, such as the Review’s proposed Corporate Leaders Group.
“The BCA’s 2013 Indigenous Engagement Survey showed significant progress and commitment from corporate Australia, with 90 per cent of BCA member companies increasing their Indigenous employment rates over the previous 12 months, with an additional 3,500 people employed. Collectively, our companies now employ an estimated 20,000 Indigenous Australians.
“Over the same period, member companies spent or committed $2 billion in contracts for goods and services from Indigenous businesses or joint ventures. Earlier this year the BCA signed an MOU with the peak Indigenous business body, Supply Nation, to support the continued growth of the Indigenous business sector.
“While business is making progress, Mr Forrest’s report is a timely reminder that we still have a long way to go. A critical step in taking some of the Review’s ambitions forward is a structured, consultative approach with business that is sensitive to the needs of different industries. Employment policy must be informed by the realities of what employers require.
“Most importantly, governments must make an unprecedented commitment to work in close collaboration with Indigenous communities to build the capabilities to make parity a reality.
“We commend Mr Forrest and the review panel for the comprehensive nature of their report, and its considerable contribution to building understanding of the shared effort involved in supporting Indigenous Australians to realise their potential,” Ms Westacott said.
For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2603 • Mobile 0403 241 128