Sharing Prosperity: Brotherhood of St Laurence Sambell Oration by BCA CEO Jennifer Westacott

BCA Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott delivered the 2011 Sambell Oration, titled ‘Sharing Prosperity’, on On 23 November 2011 in Melbourne.

I have a deep affection and respect for the Brotherhood from my time as the Director of Housing here in Victoria. It remains one of the most important organisations in driving social justice in Australia. 

And an enduring theme of this work has been the need for us all to work together to ensure that a wealthy country like Australia doesn’t leave groups of people behind.

Tony believes, as I do, that we can develop a uniquely Australian approach that integrates economic and social policy, and he wants business to play a leadership role in promoting and exploring this challenge.

The Business Council of Australia has taken part in many of the conversations facilitated by the Brotherhood and tonight I want to accept Tony’s challenge.

Our sectors have been part of a continuous dialogue for many years. We have also worked together to provide direct services to people in the community.

But I believe it’s time to deepen that conversation and deepen that relationship. And I believe this because we are at a point in our development as a nation where the community wants confidence that Australia has a plan to make sure our national economy:

  • can be preserved and strengthened
  • will improve the living standards of Australians across all sections of the community
  • is resilient to change and is able to protect people who may be impacted by that change
  • will allow us, once and for all, to tackle entrenched disadvantage, and to rethink and refresh the social contract that is a foundation of Australian society.

Notwithstanding the strength of our economic statistics, I don’t believe people have that confidence. I’m not sure they feel secure about the future and I’m not sure they feel that we are creating true wealth.

Sharing Prosperity: Brotherhood of St Laurence Sambell Oration