Reconciliation Australia responds to latest report

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.

Paul House with gum leaves and smoke
Paul Girrawah House

Paul Girrawah House has multiple First Nation ancestries from the South-East Canberra region, including the Ngambri-Ngurmal (Walgalu), Pajong (Gundungurra), Wallabollooa (Ngunnawal) and Erambie/Brungle (Wiradyuri) family groups.

Paul acknowledges his diverse First Nation history, he particularly identifies as a descendant of Onyong aka Jindoomang from Weereewaa (Lake George) and Henry ‘Black Harry’ Williams from Namadgi who were both multilingual, essentially Walgalu-Ngunnawal-Wiradjuri speaking warriors and Ngunnawal–Wallaballooa man William Lane aka ‘Billy the Bull’ - Murrjinille.

Paul was born at the old Canberra hospital in the centre of his ancestral country and strongly acknowledges his First Nation matriarch ancestors, in particular his mother Dr Aunty Matilda House-Williams and grandmother, Ms Pearl Simpson-Wedge.

Paul completed a Bachelor of Community Management from Macquarie University, and Graduate Certificate in Wiradjuri Language, Culture and Heritage and Management from CSU.

Paul provided the Welcome to Country for the 47th Opening of Federal Parliament in 2022. Paul is Board Director, Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, Member Indigenous Reference Group, National Museum of Australia and Australian Government Voice Referendum Engagement Group.  

Paul works on country with the ANU, First Nations Portfolio as a Senior Community Engagement Officer

Acknowledgement of Country

Reconciliation Australia acknowledges Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing  connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures; and to Elders past and present. 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples should be aware that this website contains images or names of people who have passed away.

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