We strive to create an inclusive work environment, with particular attention to gender balance and the inclusion of Indigenous people. We provide opportunities for our team members to enhance their job performance and develop their careers.
Our vision for reconciliation is an Australia that affords equal and equitable opportunities to all. Wesfarmers is focused on having a workforce that reflects the communities in which we operate and we are committed to increasing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our workforce and to supporting the careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members. Wesfarmers also supports partnerships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers, including as they innovate and scale. Wesfarmers remains focused on developing the cultural competency of our businesses, to help ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feel welcome in our businesses as team members, customers, suppliers and visitors.
This year we were pleased to launch our eighth Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) and our first Elevate RAP – the highest RAP level. The new RAP sets out our strategy to advance reconciliation in our businesses and in the community over the next three years. It includes our three leadership projects:
- Leadership in youth employment – contributing to closing the gap on the employment of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Leadership in support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses – through the Building Outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business (BOAB) fund
- Leadership in promoting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art and cultures – particularly through the Ever Present: First Peoples Art of Australia exhibition
The leadership projects, and all of our RAP commitments, are consistent with our five core Reconciliation priorities, detailed below. The current RAP, and prior RAPs, can be found here.
The size, geographic spread and diverse nature of our businesses means that Wesfarmers is uniquely placed to provide employment opportunities at scale to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
We were pleased to reach our goal of employment parity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with at least 3 per cent of our Australian workforce identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander team members, in October 2021, a year earlier than targeted. We have increased the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members from 2,994 at 30 June 2021 to 3,601 at 30 June 2022, increasing from 1.9 per cent to 3.3 per cent of the Australian workforce. This figure includes all full-time and part-time Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members and casual team members who have worked a shift within the 30-day period prior to reporting.
While we were pleased to regain employment parity this financial year, we know we must ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are equally represented at all levels of the organisation.
We were proud to support 19 Indigenous team members to enable them to participate in the inaugural Wesfarmers Indigenous Leadership Program (WILP). This ground-breaking program supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders across Wesfarmers with practical, comprehensive, and insightful learnings and experiences to accelerate management and executive opportunities. The WILP is a cross-divisional program, meaning that participants develop broad networks and benefit from the experiences from each Wesfarmers division.
The WILP is delivered in partnership with the Australian Indigenous Leadership Centre. All graduates receive a Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership. Wesfarmers will continue to deliver the WILP and will expand delivery to a Certificate II in Indigenous Leadership, as a preparatory program where required, for team members who seek or may benefit from further development before undertaking the Certificate IV program.
We have also maintained our relationship with CareerTrackers, ensuring we provide pathways for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander professionals into our business.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander procurement
With our large and deep supply chain, Wesfarmers recognises that increasing the diversity of our supplier base is an area where we can make a real difference to the economic prosperity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander entrepreneurs.
As Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses grow, their economic activity benefits local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and the wider Australian economy. This year, we were pleased to increase our spend with certified Supply Nation Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses to $46.2 million, an increase of 26 per cent compared to last year.
We were pleased to award grants under our Building Outstanding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Business (BOAB) Fund. Through Bunnings, we provided funding and mentoring to the native title group, Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation, to develop a partnership and pilot with a supplier of seaweed liquid fertiliser. Through Bunnings, we also supported Wik Timber to explore certification of hardwood timber on native title land.
We are focused on supporting organisations that deliver strong, positive social outcomes in the areas where we live and operate and we look to add value to our partner organisations, the community and our businesses. We direct our community funding to projects and initiatives within our focus areas of medical research and wellbeing, education and the arts. We also endeavour to support organisations that are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led, or that have significant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander programs.
During the year, we continued to support the Clontarf Foundation, which we have done since 2001. We currently employ more than 375 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men who are Clontarf alumni and students.
Celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture
Wesfarmers has supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts and culture for more than four decades, commissioning and collecting the work of leading contemporary Indigenous artists for The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art and working in partnership with premier Indigenous artists and cultural organisations in Western Australia and nationally.
This year, a highlight was the Australian premiere of West Australian Opera commission Koolbardi wer Wardong, Australia’s first Indigenous language opera, created as a Wesfarmers Arts Commission by celebrated Nyoongar musician and songwriter Gina Williams AM and Guy Ghouse. Performed entirely in Nyoongar language with an Indigenous cast and Nyoongar children’s choir conducted by Australia’s only Indigenous orchestral conductor Aaron Wyatt, Koolbardi wer Wardong premiered to critical and popular acclaim at His Majesty’s Theatre in Perth in October 2021. The production is touring Western Australian regional centres in 2022, with plans for national touring in 2023.
Another acclaimed First Nations premiere this year was Yirra Yaakin Aboriginal Theatre’s musical theatre production Panawathi Girl. Written by David Milroy, one of Australia’s leading Aboriginal playwrights, Panawathi Girl played to sell-out audiences as part of Perth Festival and is the latest in a proud line of Western Australian Indigenous-led musical productions, including Milroy’s own Waltzing the Wilarra and Jimmy Chi’s Broome-time musicals, Bran Nue Dae and Corrugation Road.
As Yirra Yaakin’s Koondarm Koomba (Dream Big) Partner, Wesfarmers Arts provides major, long-term support for Yirra Yaakin to commission new works of First Nations theatre by emerging and celebrated Indigenous writers in Western Australia and nationally. We have supported what is Australia’s biggest Aboriginal-led theatre company since 2016.
An additional highlight this year was the completion and launch of the COLLABORATE2020 Wesfarmers commission in collaboration with senior artists of the Warmun Art Centre in Western Australia’s Kimberley region. This significant new creative partnership between Wesfarmers Arts, Warmun Art Centre and Australian craft studio, JamFactory, enabled the design and creation of a limited edition suite of water vessels in anodized aluminium featuring the work of three distinguished Kimberley artists, Mabel Juli, Patrick Mung Mung and Rammey Ramsey. Watch the video here.
We are proud to have partnered with the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) since 2010 on the national mentoring initiative, the Wesfarmers Indigenous Arts Leadership Program. This year Wesfarmers and NGA presented the international touring exhibition, Ever Present: First People’s Art of Australia, which showed at the Art Gallery of Western Australia from 9 December 2021 to 18 April 2022, drawing in over 40,000 viewers. The exhibition is at the National Gallery Singapore from May to September 2022 and is the largest exhibition of First Nations art ever to travel to Asia. Read a story about it here.
Drawn from the collections of the National Gallery of Australia and The Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art, this landmark exhibition charts the evolution of First Nations art in Australia through more than one hundred rare and iconic historical and contemporary works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists from across Australia, assembled for a world-wide audience.
During the year, Wesfarmers’ corporate office contributed more than $1.0 million in support of the activities of leading arts organisations, and acquired several major works of Indigenous art for the Wesfarmers Collection of Australian Art.
GRI 103-1, GRI 103-2, GRI 103-3, GRI 401-1, GRI 404-2, GRI 405-1