Corporate engagement with Indigenous consumers reviewed

HOW the corporate sector establishes models of best practice to foster better engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander consumers will be the focus of a new inquiry by the House Indigenous Affairs Committee.

Recent major corporate scandals in relation to the treatment of Indigenous people including organisations such as Rio Tinto, Telstra, and Woolworths, indicate that corporate Australia needs to walk the walk and talk the talk in relation to reconciliation.

The committee will be looking at the role played by corporate Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) in assisting with these engagements and practices.

"Reconciliation Australia has done a great job with their reconciliation plan process," Committee Chair Julian Leeser MP said. "The purpose of this inquiry is to look at ways in which these kinds of plans can be strengthened and ways in which a greater corporate commitment to reconciliation can be achieved.

“There have been some shocking high profile examples of major Australian companies failing to meet expected standards when dealing with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The $50 million dollar penalty imposed on Telstra earlier this year for unconscionable sales of unaffordable mobile phone plans to vulnerable Indigenous customers is one such example.

"This and other cases indicate that significant gaps still remain in the corporate sector’s understanding of the needs of Indigenous people and the barriers that many of them face. This is true even among businesses that have a RAP in place and have done some good things in relation to Indigenous engagement," Mr Leeser said.

The Committee will report by March 31, 2022.

For more information about this inquiry, including its terms of reference, details of upcoming public hearings, and instructions on making a submission, visit the Inquiry webpage. Track the committee to receive email updates on the inquiry by clicking the blue ‘Track Committee’ button.

The terms of reference of the inquiry are:

  1. The way the corporate sector supports meaningful engagement with Indigenous consumers.
  2. How to strengthen corporate sector cultural understanding, and how this is demonstrated through their engagement with Indigenous consumers.
  3. The impact of Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPs) in developing targeted approaches on engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through such actions.
  4. Other matters as required.



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