Wesfarmers announces 2022 Reconciliation Award winners

Wesfarmers has announced the winners of its annual Reconciliation Awards, which celebrate team members across the Group who make exceptional contributions to advancing reconciliation in their businesses and in the community.

Wesfarmers is committed to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people feeling welcome in our businesses as team members, suppliers, customers and community members. This is not only good for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, but also our businesses.

“These awards are an important part of recognising the commitment of our team members to reconciliation within our businesses and also within Australia,” Wesfarmers Managing Director Rob Scott said. “The dedication and enthusiasm of everyone who entered these awards helps make a meaningful and tangible difference. As one of the largest employers in the country, we have an opportunity to build a more reconciled Australia through our teams and through our communities.”

The winners were selected by the corporate office members and two external members of the Wesfarmers’ Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) Steering Committee. The external members represent the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business and community sectors.

Employment Champion - Kara Pride - Bunnings

This is awarded to a team member who has gone above and beyond to employ, retain and develop Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander team members.

Kara, a Complex Manager with Bunnings, has contributed significantly to increasing Indigenous employment in her own store, and in stores across her region. In addition, Kara supports groups within the community such as the Stars Foundation which helps Indigenous girls and women to finish their education and move into employment. Kara is an Aboriginal woman who started at Bunnings in an entry level role and has progressed to a senior position. Kara uses her role to support Indigenous girls and women to find jobs at Bunnings and she also mentors them once they are in employment.

Supplier Diversity Champion - Matt Wagner Smith - Bunnings

This is awarded to a team member who has gone above and beyond to increase their business spend with an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business, or to identify new supplier opportunities for engagement.

Matt is a national buyer for garden products at Bunnings and has been instrumental in helping Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation, a Traditional Owner corporation in Tasmania, to produce a seaweed product for liquid fertilizer to be sold at Bunnings stores from next year. The seaweed project will help Circular Head Aboriginal Corporation to fund a cultural heritage centre and expand kelp production and farming facilities.

Community and Culture Champion - Alysse Winter – Kmart

This is awarded to a team member who embodies the essence of reconciliation in their business, by celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and building stronger communities.

When Alysse took over as the Store Manager at Kmart in Mt Isa, an opportunity presented itself to build trust with the local community. Alysse has worked hard to connect with local community groups and Elders to establish trust and build mutually beneficial relationships. Using these connections, Alysse helped grow the number of Indigenous team members at the Mt Isa store - now 24.8 per cent Indigenous representation - and to create a more inclusive environment. Alysse also worked alongside police, youth groups and local schools to advocate for the needs of the community to strengthen relationships and build a more inclusive environment at the store.