Senator the Hon. Nick Arbib, Simon McGrath VP Accor Australia & Leah Armstrong CEO Reconciliation Australia at the Accor Reconciliation Action Plan launch at Sofitel Sydney Wentworth
Australia's largest hotel group reinforces its commitment to Indigenous Australians

The statistics say it all - official employment figures show the unemployment rate for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians is 14% compared to 4.9% for other Australians.

14 March 2011, Sydney: Accor Asia Pacific, the largest hotel group in Australia, announced its ongoing commitment to improving Indigenous employment and relations at the official launch of the Accor Indigenous Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in partnership with Reconciliation Australia - the largest and most comprehensive RAP in the Australian hospitality industry.

"With over 150 hotels in Australia, the greatest geographical spread of city and regional locations, and the relationships we have built with Indigenous employment partners, Accor is well equipped to achieve our goal of seeing 100 Indigenous employees trained and employed in Accor hotels across Australia each year," said Simon McGrath, Vice President Accor Australia.

Accor has led the way in efforts to build sustainable relationships with Indigenous Australians through its pioneering 'Indigenous Employment Program'.  Established in 2001, the Program has seen over 600 Indigenous Australians employed throughout Accor's Australian hotel network.  It has also achieved many industry accolades including the Corporate Leaders for Indigenous Employment award for four consecutive years (from 2003-2006).

Accor is now embarking on the next phase of its campaign by partnering with Reconciliation Australia - the non-government, not-for-profit foundation charged with continuing the national focus for reconciliation.  Partnering with Reconciliation Australia and implementing a Reconciliation Action Plan is a formal commitment to closing the gap between Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Australians not only through employment but also through training; partnering with Indigenous Businesses; community involvement to increase knowledge about the Indigenous culture and providing opportunities through education and scholarships.

"We are proud of what has been achieved so far under our Indigenous Employment Program and look forward to excelling as an example within the industry and greater community of an Employer that is truly committed to supporting Indigenous Australians," said Mr McGrath.

Senator Arbib thanked Accor for its leadership and vision and praised the emphasis given in the RAP to employment and traineeship opportunities and support for growing Indigenous businesses and development of further Indigenous partnerships.

Leah Armstrong, CEO Reconciliation Australia, in attendance at the launch said: "We know from the 2010 Race Relations Barometer survey that 87% of Australians agree that the relationship with the Indigenous people of this country is important – and it is industry leaders like Accor that put this belief into practice by establishing ongoing employment and training and building cultural awareness throughout its industry and overall community."

Support from partners and Indigenous leaders in attendance at the launch included Allan Madden – Elder from the Gadigal Land who gave the official welcome; Leah Armstrong, CEO Reconciliation Australia and Senator the Hon. Mark Arbib, Minister for Indigenous Employment and Economic Development.