Submission on the Indigenous Voice Co-Design Process Interim Report

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF COUNTRY
Compass Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands on which we operate, and we pay respects to their Elders past, present and emerging. We acknowledge Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Nations peoples of this country and recognise their continued connection to land, water and community.

We recognise that Australian First Nations peoples’ history and rich cultures are engrained in Australia’s history, and this is something that all Australians should recognise, be proud of and celebrate.

BACKGROUND
Compass Group operates in 50 countries around the world, employs 600,000 people and serves more than six billion meals each year. In Australia, we are one of the largest dedicated food and support services companies with extensive operations that include both onshore and offshore facilities and reflect our diverse client base encompassing schools and universities, venues and leisure facilities, the energy, resources and Defence sectors, hospitals and aged care facilities, airline lounges and feeding thousands of people at work.

Many of our site locations are within or near regional and remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and we partner, collaborate and work with First Nations peoples, communities, clients and stakeholders to co-design and create sustainable and positive economic, social solutions and cultural outcomes.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation and engagement is a critical part of our business and operations. We are fully committed to continuously improving the ways in which we contribute directly and indirectly to the general wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities within which we work across Australia and have a proven track record. Currently 7.2% of our national permanent staff are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples. In our national Offshore and Remote business over 10.1% of our permanent staff are Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander peoples.

OUR RECONCILIATION JOURNEY
We started our reconciliation journey and engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities over 25 years ago and we published our first Reconciliation Action Plan in 2009. During this time, we have built thousands of relationships with clients, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, communities, and organisations. We have existing affiliations with fellow elevate RAP partners and we have significant operational footprints in each state and territory. We are committed to utilise our track record and capacity to continue to influence national systemic change in reconciliation and to address ongoing First Nations inequity.

OUR SUPPORT FOR AN INDIGENOUS VOICE
Previously we have supported the Recognise campaign and joined our other 14 Elevate RAP partners in supporting the Uluru Statement from the Heart. It is with pride and conviction that we also fully support the Commonwealth Government’s commitment to establish a structure and process to include an Indigenous Voice, which enables, empowers and allows Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to have a say when the government and parliament make decisions and laws that affect them. Our support for an Indigenous Voice also aligns to the United Nations (UN) Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The UN Declaration sets minimum standards for the survival, dignity and well-being of Indigenous peoples and it expands on existing human rights standards and fundamental freedoms as they apply to Indigenous peoples around the world, including Australia.

We believe that having and promoting a constitutionally enshrined Indigenous Voice in this country is critical in reaffirming and recognising the unique status and contribution of the First Nations peoples and will lead Australia in becoming an inclusive and reconciled nation. Having an inclusive nation and understanding and accepting the wrongs of the past and their impact, has a profound bearing on increasing awareness and understanding between Australia’s First Nations peoples and other Australians, and significantly aids the efforts to close the disparity gap for First Nations peoples.

We support constitutional recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to allow continuity of Voice and the opportunity to continue to make impactful, sustainable long-term change.

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