Reconciliation Australia has welcomed the Business Council of Australia’s (BCA) third annual survey report, Vision and Values: Working Together to Close the Gap.
The latest survey report drew a record 74 per cent response rate from its member companies— an increase of 40 per cent from last year.
Reconciliation Australia Chief Executive, Leah Armstrong, said the council should be congratulated on the results.
“It’s great to see more companies participating in the survey,” Ms Armstrong said, “and around 80 per cent of respondents have now adopted formal Indigenous engagement strategies”.
“This shows that more council members are starting to seriously think about the benefits of employing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.”
Despite a large number of companies engaging with Indigenous employment strategies, the survey also showed that 17 companies reported having no Indigenous engagement activities — citing the absence of a compelling business case, limited resources and not knowing where to start as obstacles to developing a strategy.
“There needs to be a focus on building employer capabilities and providing businesses with the right tools to create an environment where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees feel supported,” Ms Armstrong said.
“Reconciliation Australia has been working with around 20 per cent of the national workforce through our Reconciliation Action (RAP) program to build those capabilities—and we’re seeing some great results.”
The RAP program is a business plan that uses an holistic approach to create meaningful relationships and sustainable opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians. “We’ve found that many of our corporate partners with RAPs are taking positive steps to create a workplace culture that respects Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff,” Ms Armstrong said.