Bankwest has today affirmed its commitment to advancing reconciliation in Australia by celebrating NAIDOC Week with the introduction of official colleague uniform pieces incorporating Indigenous designs.
The Indigenous uniform initiative is aligned with Bankwest’s Reconciliation Action Plan, which aspires to improve the social, economic and financial wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander customers and communities.
Bankwest was founded as the Agricultural Bank of WA in 1895 on Noongar Country, with the financial institution’s locations now spanning 29 Aboriginal peoples’ lands and 11 nations.
The uniform pieces – a scarf, necktie, and socks – were designed by Perth-based Yawuru (Kimberley region) woman Justine Kinney, with extensive consultation with Aboriginal elders and ongoing support and guidance.
Ms Kinney founded the Cultural Creative Agency, which is an Indigenous owned and operated design agency, and a certified Supply Nation provider.
Ms Kinney said: “The visual nature of this initiative really brings the design to life, and it represents a commitment to reconciliation and the positive steps Bankwest is taking to that end within the community.
“This is the first time I’ve seen one of my designs brought to life in such a visual, tactile, and sensory way, and I’m excited to see the pieces worn with pride by the people at Bankwest.”
The design reflects the reconciliation journey of all Australians, with 12 arches surrounding and creating a meeting place of the 11 Aboriginal nations in which Bankwest has a presence, and an arch for non-Indigenous Australians.
Australia’s national floral emblem, the golden wattle, has been placed at the centre of the design as a symbol of resilience, unity, remembrance, and reflection.
Bankwest has made the uniform pieces available to its more than 3,000 colleagues across Australia as part of its NAIDOC Week celebrations.
The items complement Bankwest’s ongoing reconciliation initiatives such as its Indigenous Customer Assistance Line (iCAL), Indigenous graduate/intern program, Indigenous colleague network, and cultural awareness training.
Bankwest Chief Customer Officer Paul Vivian said: “This initiative is an example of Bankwest’s commitment to create a safe and welcoming environment for First Nations colleagues, customers and communities.
“We’re proud to acknowledge that we were founded as the Agricultural Bank of WA on Noongar Country more than 125 years ago, and our branch locations now span 29 different Aboriginal people’s lands and 11 nations.
“When we undertook this initiative, we shared openly and honestly our intent, journey and design with Aboriginal elders, and listened and learnt from their wisdom, progressing with their support and guidance.
“I’m excited to see Bankwest colleagues wearing these new uniform pieces, which reflect our acknowledgement and celebration of the rich history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples across Australia.”