For generations, Indigenous Australians have been disadvantaged when it comes to sharing in the country’s social and economic wealth. It’s a situation that’s unfair and needs to change for the good of all Australians.
“At PwC's Indigenous Consulting (PIC), we look to create shared value: we’re a for-profit business, but we also seek to deliver social good through all our projects. So everything we do for our clients involves powering positive social change.”
In November 2013, PwC Australia acted to tackle this issue by creating PwC’s Indigenous Consulting (PIC) – a PwC member firm that is majority owned, led and staffed by Indigenous Australians.
PIC’s unique power springs from combining Indigenous experience and expertise with PwC’s world-leading consulting capability. It aims to bring cultural integrity to Indigenous projects, policies and programmes to benefit both Indigenous Australians and wider society. As part of pursuing that mission, PIC has recently been helping to address the major national issue of Indigenous incarceration.
“We believe that real change happens when it is created by Indigenous people, not for Indigenous people. Our desire to create this firm reflects our belief in the rights of our communities to create and determine their own futures.”
Almost four years on, PIC is 50 team members strong, over 60% of whom are Indigenous, and has delivered over 280 projects across every Australian state and territory. Clients have included all levels of government, Indigenous businesses, and major corporations.
PIC recently collaborated with PwC Australia and a group of aboriginal sporting and human rights organisations to deliver a major national project called Indigenous incarceration: Unlock the Facts. The report found that while Indigenous people make up just 3% of Australia’s population, they account for 27% of adult prison inmates and 55% of youth in detention.
The high rates of Indigenous people in prison has negative consequences that are felt by nearly all Indigenous families. Incarceration often leads to financial stress, reduced employment prospects, homelessness, poor health and wellbeing, loss of cultural identity, social exclusion and higher risk of reoffending. The rates of Indigenous incarceration continue to grow and are further entrenching an intergenerational cycle of poverty and social disadvantage.
The report made six recommendations of areas where action is needed to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous incarceration rates – and estimated this could save the Australian economy nearly A$19 billion annually by 2040. For further information about the report, visit www.unlockthefacts.com.au
The study underlined the importance of PwC Australia’s long-established Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Supported by PIC, the RAP aims to improve outcomes for Indigenous people through actions including developing community relationships and sharing skills.