Great to hear ANZ chief executive John McFarlane announcing plans to recruit at least 300 young indigenous trainees by 2009, and and to promote 20 indigenous employees on merit to management positions by 2014.
Inspired by a successful employment program ran by business leader, Dick Estens in regional Victoria, the bank aims to have at least 3 per cent of its regional and rural staff from an indigenous background by 2011.
McFarlane told The ABC’s AM that when he first came to Australia from Scotland ten years ago, he was surprised to see the difference in living standards between Indigenous Australians and the rest of Australia.
“I think because most of the organisation tends to be in the wealthier parts of Australia, it’s not in your face. And therefore, I think it takes some time for you to become aware of that issue. It’s not something that’s well reported. It’s not something that you’d see every day.”
Although once you get out of the main cities and into the rural regions, I think that’s when you start to get a flavour of this. And I suppose I was partly into tenure before I realised that.”
The bank’s move towards reconciliation came a day after the Chairman of the National Australia Bank, and the Business Council of Australia, Michael Chaney requested the Prime Minister, John Howard to write a letter to Australia’s top 100 companies to develop plans to help Aboriginal people.
Michael Chaney told ABC’s AM that business must take the lead on reconciliation:
It’s easy for us to sit back and say well it’s really a Government issue, it’s not something we can do anything about. But I think in businesses, particularly if you look at Business Council members who employ around a million Australians, there is something we can do, of setting out a way forward for businesses in which they could really make a difference in terms of Indigenous advancement.
To hear some of the stories behind Dick Estens’ Aboriginal Employment Strategy and the ANZ Bank’s positive moves towards reconciliation make sure you listen to this great interview on ABC Melbourne with Group Managing Director of ANZ’s Personal Division, Brian Hartzer.