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Westpac boosts spend to $10 million for Indigenous Australian businesses

27 June, 2017

 

Westpac Group today announced its commitment to increase its supply chain spend to $10 million for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned business by 2020 as part of a broad suite of commitments announced in its 2018-20 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).

 

To support this, Westpac will work with Indigenous suppliers to strengthen their capabilities to work with large corporate buyers and create business development opportunities.

 

In addition, Westpac announced its continued commitment to partnering with Indigenous businesses to help them to prosper and grow. This includes:

  • Increasing the reach and capacity of Westpac’s dedicated Indigenous Business Banking team;
  • Supporting at least 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.

 

Westpac Group CEO Brian Hartzer said the company’s commitments to backing Indigenous businesses is 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,” Mr 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”

 

Mr Hartzer was also pleased to announce that Westpac is committed to Indigenous employment parity – with the Group setting a target of 4% or more of new hires to be Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with a strengthened focus on the retention and career development.
 

This follows the announcement last year that Westpac Group had exceeded parity - with the proportion our employees who self-identify as Indigenous Australian reaching more than 4%, which is greater than the proportion in the broader Australian population as estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics based on 2011 Census data.
 

“We believe our actions are contributing to Indigenous economic independence and are helping to change expectations both within communities and in business.”

 

Highlights in the refreshed RAP built on the progress achieved over the past two decades include:

  • Westpac Indigenous Advisory Committee established in 2014 to act as a guiding body and provide advice;
  • More than 400 new Indigenous Australian business customers and suppliers since the establishment of the Indigenous Business Banking team in 2014;
  • Since co-founding the Jawun Indigenous Corporate Partnership program in 2001, over 800 Westpac Group employees have contributed the equivalent of more than 100 years to Indigenous community organisations;  and
  • Since the inception of Many Rivers Microfinance in 2009, over 600 Indigenous owned businesses have been established or expanded with the assistance of Westpac/Many Rivers microfinance loans.

 

Chair of the Westpac Indigenous Advisory Committee, Professor Robynne Quiggin, believes that Westpac’s RAP brings 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,” Professor Quiggin said.

 

“I am delighted that the RAP has been endorsed as an ‘Elevate’ RAP by Reconciliation Australia – the highest endorsement to be assigned.”

 

Westpac Group’s Reconciliation Action Plan 2018-2020 is available online at www.westpac.com.au/westpacweave