Many Australian businesses directly impact on Indigenous land and Peoples. Businesses across all sectors in Australia contribute to the growth in jobs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and an increasing number of businesses are adopting Reconciliation Action Plans and programs that work towards reducing inequalities, through Indigenous employment, procurement and respect for culture.
However, there are still gaps in equity, equality and cultural acceptance that have widened the trust deficit between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. It is important for corporate Australia to consider its role in leading the discussion around reconciliation, and the avenues that are available for both symbolic and practical action.
Indigenous Peoples are entitled to all human rights established under international law. In recognition of Indigenous Peoples’ status as culturally distinct and self-determining peoples, and the unique challenges they have historically faced, the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was developed to recognise Indigenous peoples’ individual and collective rights.
Within Australia, the private sector has a significant opportunity and responsibility to help ‘Close the Gap’ and show respect and support for the human rights of Indigenous Australians. A rights-based approach to Indigenous engagement can even strengthen business’ positive impacts.
Many businesses are finding that respectful, positive engagement with Indigenous Peoples can bring a range of benefits including stronger relationships with communities and other stakeholders, reputational benefits, employee engagement, recognition from investors, and the ability to partner with and learn from Indigenous Peoples.
Global Compact Network Australia Business Guide on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and Indigenous Australia. Read here.