Big Bank Supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Owned Business
5 July 2017 at 8:46 am
A major Australian bank has committed $10 million in its supply chain spend towards procuring from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned business.
The Westpac Group announcement will see expenditure increase to $10 million by 2020 and comes as part of the group’ s 2018-2020 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Westpac Group CEO Brian Hartzer said the company’s commitment to backing Indigenous businesses was part of a broader plan to partner with Indigenous Australian customers, communities and people to create prosperity and equity.
“We know Indigenous owned businesses are more likely to employ Indigenous people, so this way we can indirectly contribute to greater employment opportunities and help shape a brighter future for all Australians,” Hartzer said.
“Our RAP works towards closing the gap in wellbeing and prosperity between our First Australians and the broader population. It is driven by an integrated approach to work in partnership with Indigenous Australian customers, employees and communities and as Australia’s first bank we have the responsibility and business skills to make the greatest contribution to lasting social and financial outcomes for Australia’s First Peoples.”
Hartzer said the Westpac Group was also committed to Indigenous parity and had set a target of 4 per cent or more of new employees to be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
“We believe our actions are contributing to Indigenous economic independence and are helping to change expectations both within communities and in business,” he said.
Other measures in Westpac Group’s RAP include; supporting 110 small Indigenous businesses a year to establish or expand through access to Westpac microfinance loans in partnership with Many Rivers Microfinance; collaborating with three tier-one suppliers to create Indigenous training and employment opportunities within their businesses; and deepening the cultural competency of Westpac Group employees to build stronger relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers and communities.
Chair of the Westpac Indigenous advisory committee Professor Robynne Quiggin said that Westpac’s RAP brought “a long-term view to complex challenges”.
“I believe we have laid solid foundations and I am confident that with strong leadership and commitment to implementation, we will drive great outcomes,” Quiggin said.
“I am delighted that the RAP has been endorsed as an ‘Elevate’ RAP by Reconciliation Australia – the highest endorsement to be assigned.”