KPMG Australia has extended its Indigenous investment, acquiring specialist Indigenous consultancy, Arrilla, today. Additionally, KPMG Australia has taken a 49 percent stake in Arrilla’s digital Indigenous cultural competency training venture, and committed to reinvesting a portion of profits from the joint venture into a range of initiatives, including an Indigenous business incubator.
“We believe Indigenous economic empowerment must be built through entrepreneurial activity and employment – and that’s exactly what you’re seeing from KPMG today. This expansion is driven by a social purpose, and very deliberately conceived to bring together Indigenous expertise with KPMG specialists to provide tangible outcomes focused on economic development,” said Peter Nash, Chairman of KPMG Australia.
CEO, Gary Wingrove, added: “The new Indigenous advisory practice, KPMG Arrilla Indigenous Services, will be co-led by our Head of Corporate Citizenship, Catherine Hunter, together with Shelley Reys, principal of Arrilla. And I’m proud to welcome Shelley as the first Indigenous partner of KPMG Australia. Shelley and Catherine will soon be announcing a strong Indigenous team, and they will be supported by the extensive KPMG Advisory group.”
Shelley Reys brings over 22 years of experience in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander landscape and reconciliation to the new KPMG business. She was the inaugural Co-Chair of Reconciliation Australia, was awarded the Order of Australia for her work in the Indigenous arena and previously named one of the Australian Financial Review’s ‘100 Women of Influence’.
“As a champion of reconciliation for over two decades, I’ve been passionate about changing the life chances of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by bringing Indigenous and non-Indigenous interests together. Through my cultural competency work I’ve helped the corporate sector gain some of the knowledge, skills and confidence to play its part,” said Shelley Reys.
“The Indigenous business incubator that we plan to establish is a key point of difference in the market and an important aspect for me. Even in a commercial environment, it’s important to make a contribution to the community in which you work and KPMG Arrilla Indigenous Services will do so for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander owned businesses. I could have only wished for something like this to have been available to me 22 years ago.”
“As an Indigenous woman and business owner, one might say that by partnering with KPMG I have become a true reflection of these principles. This unique relationship with KPMG offers a platform from which to deliver something that I’m passionate about – the creation of a culturally competent Australia,” she commented.
KPMG Arrilla Indigenous Services will bring the full breadth of KPMG’s expertise to support Indigenous businesses to thrive, grow and employ more people. It will also support non-Indigenous organisations who wish to make a genuine impact in the Indigenous space, but need support to do so. The practice will seek to better connect Indigenous enterprises with corporate and public-sector Australia, particularly in pursuit of Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP) opportunities. Other specialist services will include framing Indigenous policy and programs, building Indigenous business capability and supporting Reconciliation Action Plans (RAPS).
The joint venture company, which will retain the Arrilla name, will continue to be led by Shelley Reys. Its proprietary digital Indigenous Cultural Competency training tool is specifically designed for the workplace. It will be utilised by organisations to improve their staff’s knowledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and cultures; learn how to work more effectively with Indigenous colleagues, customers, companies and communities; and discover how to work more effectively on Indigenous projects and strategies. The training tool is the first in the market to generate impact measurement data and reporting, which helps organisations to understand changed attitudes and actions within their workplaces.
Today’s announcement builds on KPMG Australia’s 10-year commitment to reconciliation and Indigenous social and economic development, based on principles found in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. KPMG Australia was the first major accounting firm to launch a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2009 and received Elevate status for its 2013 RAP. This was the first Australian RAP to incorporate an assessment of social impact, and found that during the reporting period more than $12 million of social impact and economic value was delivered, for an investment of $5 million. KPMG uses its business skills and resources to work with Indigenous people to enable economic and social development. This has led to over 200 KPMG people completing Jawun secondments. KPMG Australia’s work with Indigenous communities has been recognised by the Australian Human Rights Commission, which awarded the firm the Human Rights Business Award in 2014.
KPMG Australia recently published a report, Igniting the Indigenous Economy, highlighting proposals for driving economic growth for Indigenous Australia and encouraging further involvement from Australian business. Developed in conjunction with prominent Indigenous Australian thinkers, the collaborators pointed to over 20 recommendations focusing on taxation, superannuation, innovation, education, Indigenous assets and Empowered Communities reforms.
“KPMG’s own reconciliation journey is building a workforce of culturally competent professionals with a deepening understanding of the issues and challenges faced by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians,” said Catherine Hunter. “Through our new Indigenous services we are offering Indigenous and non-Indigenous clients a unique combination of consulting expertise and insights via our own citizenship commitment, delivered in a culturally appropriate way.”
Today’s deal marks the twelfth acquisition by KPMG Australia in the past 2 years. Investments include social media risk consultancy, SR7; the Melbourne team of Pacific Strategy Partners; an accounting practice in Karratha, WA; mining services consultancy Momentum Partners; SGA Property Consultancy; First Point Global cyber security business; accounting and advisory business Hayes Knight (WA); human rights and social impact consultancy, Banarra; Microsoft Implementation partner, Hands-on Systems; The Performance Clinic; and most recently, financial services technology consultancy, Markets IT.
Head of Communications, KPMG
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