The Aboriginal Employment Strategy held our Annual NAIDOC Celebration Dinner on Wednesday 23 July at the Cell Block Theatre in the National Art School of Sydney.
Uncle Chicka Madden opened the event with his Welcome to Country acknowledging the traditional owners the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and their continuing connection to the land, sea and community.
The NAIDOC Dinner was held in recognition of all the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women who have fought in defence of this country. From the Warriors in the Frontier Wars to our Warriors who have served with honour and pride in Australia’s military conflicts and engagements across the globe – they were recognised and acknowledged by the AES.
Ms Fiona Scott Federal Member for Lindsay MP delivered a message on behalf of the Hon Tony Abbott MP Prime Minister of Australia, extracts includes:
“I am pleased to provide this message to everybody celebrating NAIDOC Week 2014. This is an opportunity to pay tribute to the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The 2014 theme, Serving Country: Centenary and Beyond, honours the contribution made by Indigenous Australians to the defence and security of our nation.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have served in almost every conflict and peace-keeping mission in which we have participated since the Boer War. They have been decorated for bravery, wounded in action and taken as prisoners of war. Many have lost their lives. Even when our nation did not appropriately recognise their service, they exemplified the courage, endurance, sacrificed and mateship that lie at the heart of the ANZAC spirit.”
Professor Peter Shergold AC delivered a key note address titled ‘Social Benefit Bonds and Social Impact investment’ which highlighted the need for a demographic governance model which provides flexibility and opportunities for service providers to deliver services and programs on behalf of Governments.
The Aboriginal Employment Strategy delivered Corporate Partner Awards at the event recognising the programs and partnerships that have provided Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with career opportunities. Award recipients on the night were ANZ, Telstra, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Intercontinental Hotel Group, National Australia Bank, Kmart Tyre and Auto Service, Westpac Banking Group, Westfield, Housing NSW, City of Sydney, Snap Fresh and Campbelltown City Council.
ANZ who is a foundation partner of the AES School Based Traineeship had Indigenous Talent Acquisition Specialist Mr Don Walker accept the award, Mr Walker said:
“”Since we launched our Indigenous school based traineeship program 11 years ago, we’ve been able to offer more than 800 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders an opportunity to experience where a career in banking could take them. We’re pleased to be recognised by AES and look forward to even greater success in the future.”
Telstra’s Indigenous Employment Manager, Mr Jamie Hardy explained the importance of career opportunities within Corporate Business by saying:
“Telstra really values working in partnership with the Aboriginal Employment Strategy on our successful traineeship program. We look forward to working more closely with AES in the future and increasing our Indigenous workforce”.
Commonwealth Bank Manager of Indigenous Engagement Josh Riley said at the awards:
“”It’s a great honour for the CommBank’s 12 year partnership with the AES to have been recognised at their NAIDOC Celebration. As one of our valued Reconciliation Action Plan partners, the work the AES does makes an important difference in the careers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples which I can personally attest to having started my career as an AES trainee.
“The level of social benefit and financial investment the Aboriginal Employment Strategy contributes to the Australian economy tonight spoke volume, not only through our Corporate Partners but through influential people like Professor Peter Shergold AC. Our brand is etched in Australia’s history and presently we continue to be the market leaders”, said Mr Danny Lester, CEO Aboriginal Employment Strategy.