Commonwealth Bank committed to our Indigenous Australians

29 July 2008

The Commonwealth Bank has outlined the Bank’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) after 6 months of consultation with Indigenous groups, and with Reconciliation Australia.

"With the largest Indigenous customer base of any Australian bank, we are committed to improving relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians and contributing to the elimination of the 17 year life expectancy gap that exists in Australia."

"On behalf of the Bank’s 38,000 staff, I am proud to announce the completion of our Reconciliation Action Plan," said Mr Ralph Norris, Commonwealth Bank CEO.

According to Mr Norris, the Commonwealth Bank RAP will deliver clear actions and set targets for activities that will improve the involvement, inclusion and progression of Indigenous Australians within the Commonwealth Bank Group. The RAP will boost cultural awareness among non-Indigenous staff to promote respectful relationships and shared pride.

"We believe through a sustained effort by governments, business and the community that we can help improve the livelihoods of Indigenous people and communities, which is in the best interests of all Australians’."

The Commonwealth Bank’s Reconciliation Action Plan will address three distinct areas:

  • Opportunities – provide opportunities that benefit Indigenous Australians and the Group alike by focussing on educational and employment opportunities and support of Indigenous enterprise.
  • Relationships – develop and strengthen relationships with Indigenous stakeholders and the communities they represent by addressing the needs of our Indigenous customers, providing opportunities for our staff to work with and learn from Indigenous communities and promote reconciliation priorities.
  • Respect – encourage respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our culture and history. Provide opportunities for greater understanding of cultural backgrounds.

Specifically, the Bank will look at initiatives such as cultural awareness training for staff, new initiatives to better communicate with customers and a commitment to continue to offer financial literacy training and materials to Indigenous communities.

"We will also commit to employing 40 Indigenous trainees each year, for the next three years and develop and implement an overarching Indigenous employment strategy, designed to attract, retain and develop the best Indigenous talent," said Mr Norris.

The Commonwealth Bank is one of the first major Australian organisations to implement Reconciliation Action Plan. The program was developed by Reconciliation Australia as a forward-looking aspect of last year’s 40th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum. The RAP community currently includes 90 leading organisations across all sectors and employs around 7% of the Australian workforce.

"This RAP is the extension of a dedicated series of targeted actions to help us learn, improve and fully meet the needs of our Indigenous staff and customers," said Mr Norris.

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For further information, please contact:

Steve Batten
The Commonwealth Bank
Ph: (02) 9378 2504
Mob: 0411 080 268