Qantas Launches Reconciliation Action Plan

Sydney, 29 November 2007

Qantas officially launched its Reconciliation Action Plan today, becoming only the third Australian major corporate to lodge a formal Indigenous Reconciliation Plan.

The Chief Executive Officer of Qantas, Mr Geoff Dixon, said Qantas' Reconciliation Action Plan had four specific objectives, which were to:

* double Indigenous employment opportunities across the Qantas Group;
* improve the involvement of and support for indigenous staff;
* assist Qantas staff to better appreciate Indigenous cultures and promote cultural diversity within the company; and
* encourage Qantas' partners and customers to actively support reconciliation and Indigenous issues.

"It is important for companies like Qantas, which is readily identified with Australia on the international stage, to not only make a strong commitment but take practical steps to help improve education and employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians," Mr Dixon said.

"Qantas currently employs around 160 Indigenous Australians. This figure will increase to around 180 across out operations by the end of the year, and our aim is to double this number to over 300 by the end of 2008."

Mr Dixon said that under its Reconciliation Action Plan, Qantas would offer 10 Indigenous pilot cadetships over the next 12 months.

"On completion of training, Qantas will arrange paid industry placement for at least two years for these cadets, enabling them to gain valuable operational experience, and then offer them a permanent pilot position in the Qantas Group."

Mr Dixon said the cadetship program, which was available to applicants from across Australia, involved a partnership with the Western Australian Government's Department of Aboriginal Education and Training.

"We will also encourage our partners and customers to be active in their support of reconciliation and Indigenous issues, and we expect our suppliers and partners to follow our lead to increase Indigenous employment within their own organisations," he said.

Mr Dixon said because Qantas employed people purely on merit, improving access to the interview process for Indigenous people was another key goal.

"Qantas has engaged two specialist Indigenous recruitment agencies to assist us in this area and have also visited Indigenous communities, job markets, schools and cultural events."

Mr Dixon said Qantas was also committed to increasing the retention of Indigenous employees currently working at Qantas.

"We have implemented mentoring programs, using feedback from our existing Indigenous staff, to refine our support to staff," he said.

Mr Dixon said the airline would continue to expand its extensive partnerships, which included sponsorship of Indigenous groups and organisations, including Reconciliation Australia, Desert Knowledge Australia, the AFL Kickstart program and Bangarra Dance Theatre.

In May this year Qantas had also assisted Reconciliation Australia with the Yananyi Dreaming flight to Canberra to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum.

He said the airline would also continue to promote Indigenous culture through the airline's cabin crew and ground staff uniforms, its Aboriginal painted planes and its inflight entertainment programming.

Issued by Qantas Corporate Communication (Q3697)