Business School Topics
While rednecks are alive and well in some towns, companies are increasingly aware of cultural competence and human rights, Indigenous and business leaders have told a conference at The University of Western Australia.
Speaking at the Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference at the UWA Business School, Evan Maloney, CEO of Ngarluma Yindjibarndi Foundation, said Indigenous people in rural areas still faced extreme discrimination.
"I don't care what Sam Walsh says or Twiggy; when you go on site rednecks are alive and well and there's still a long way to get the cultural awareness training across to rednecks from capital cities. It's rife and I don't see an end to it any time in the near future," Mr Maloney said.
Head of Corporate Citizenship at KPMG Australia, Catherine Hunter, added that more pressure for companies to act on human rights was coming from stakeholders than from legislative requirements.
"Increasing stakeholder expectations - in many ways that's far more powerful than increased legislation for companies," Ms Hunter said.
"I think that actually we're seeing stakeholders holding companies to account as far more powerful drivers of change than imposing a legislative framework."
Ms Hunter said KPMG Australia was conscious of involving Indigenous people in its decision-making, in line with its support for the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.
"Every day, there are decisions being made in the firm that will impact on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and yet those people aren't necessarily part of the process. We're mindful all the time - are we acting in the best way possible? We must make those decisions together," Ms Hunter said.
The panel on human rights was also joined by Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Alice Cope, Executive Manager at Global Compact Network Australia and chaired by Leah Armstrong, CEO of Reconciliation Australia.
The Indigenous Business, Enterprise and Corporations Conference was held at the UWA Business School on 1-2 December.