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Westpac partners with The Australian Human Rights Commission to launch Australia’s first cultural diversity blueprint


29 July 2016

The Australian Human Rights Commission has today launched a first of its kind blueprint, designed to provide guidance for leaders so they can better support Australia's multicultural society and our global economy.
Revealed at Westpac's head office, the "Leading for change: A blueprint for cultural diversity and inclusive leadership" was developed in partnership with Race Discrimination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane, the University of Sydney Business School, Westpac, PwC Australia and Telstra.
According to the blueprint, cultural diversity in leadership is an issue in Australia, with the majority of industry leaders being from Anglo-Celtic background despite making up only 68 per cent of the Australian population. Further, less than 5 per cent (4.98 per cent) of ASX200 CEOs come from non-European or Indigenous backgrounds.
At Westpac, cultural diversity and inclusion is high on the agenda when engaging its 40,000 employees and 12 million customers. Westpac employees speak over 35 different languages and identify with even more cultural backgrounds, bringing with them a broad range of unique experiences, skills and ideas - a mix that enables Westpac to ensure premium service is at the forefront for customers, suppliers and communities.
Speaking at the launch of the blueprint, Westpac Group CEO Brian Hartzer said he was proud to be involved in an initiative that will assist corporate Australia in embracing cultural diversity and inclusive leadership.
"Improving the representation of diversity needs to be tackled by the private and public sector.  I firmly believe if we are going to drive change and create a truly multicultural society, inclusion and diversity has to be built into a company's DNA," Mr Hartzer said.
"That's why we've focused on creating development opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds and created training programs to help people understand the benefits of diverse teams.
"For example, we've introduced an inclusive leadership program, which has been designed to help build greater cultural understanding and competency across the business in order to build diverse teams - such as age, disability, LGBTI and culture, not just gender.
"This blueprint has been designed to help Australian businesses understand what best practice looks like. As Australia's oldest company, we are pleased to have helped develop a framework for cultural inclusion that not only benefits Westpac but every Australian."
It has been critically important for Westpac to create an inclusive culture within the organisation to not only attract and retain the very best talent, but also to harness the full potential of each and every individual, and create an environment where innovation and bright ideas can flourish.
"Our incredibly diverse workforce allows us to deliver great service for all of our customers, communities and of course for our own people. For this to work we have provided our staff with a flexible, safe and enjoyable workplace where they are encouraged to meet their potential," Mr Hartzer said.
"Westpac has a long and proud history of connecting with diverse communities. From our dedicated migrant banking team who are making it easier for customers to set up in Australia, to helping to grow Indigenous business through our supplier diversity program we are dedicated to celebrating diversity and supporting businesses working with diverse cultures."