Statement from Business Council of Australia President Tony Shepherd, Indigenous Engagement Task Force Chairman Michael Rose and Chief Executive Jennifer Westacott
The Business Council of Australia welcomes today’s Act of Recognition by the federal parliament as an important step towards a referendum to achieve meaningful constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
We strongly support actions to close the opportunity gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, and constitutional recognition could play a valuable role in achieving this.
True reconciliation involves acknowledging our nation’s history and the special place of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first Australians, alongside practical actions to improve people’s living standards.
BCA member companies know from experience that respectful relationships with Indigenous communities and individuals are the only basis for effective employment and other economic development initiatives.
Recognising and valuing Indigenous heritage and culture is part of building the kind of relationships that allow us to work together more effectively, and to solve problems and improve outcomes for everyone.
Achieving constitutional change on this issue is not beyond us as a nation. It is essential that the process remains above politics, and that leaders from all sectors help to garner community understanding and support.
Like the national Apology in 2008, constitutional recognition of Australia’s First Peoples would contribute to making us a more confident Australia.
For further information contact:
Scott Thompson, Director, Media and Public Affairs
Business Council of Australia
Telephone (03) 8664 2664 | Mobile 0403 241 128