Pfizer commits to closing the gap

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Pfizer Australia launched its first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) earlier this week, which seeks to close the gap in health inequalities experienced by First Nations people and communities, and calls for Pfizer colleagues to be authentic, effective allies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

The company’s commitment to reconciliation through the ‘REFLECT’ RAP plan builds relationships, respect and opportunities with First Nations peoples.

Pfizer says over the course of two years the company has taken time to better understand the issues with respect to health inequalities, to equip colleagues with cultural competence, and to get to know community members and how they can work together to support and advocate for greater access to quality health care for First Nations people.

“I am humbled to launch Pfizer’s first REFLECT Reconciliation Action Plan [RAP], which was supported by every Pfizer colleague engaging in reflection, and will continue to be shaped by reflection,” said Anne Harris, Pfizer Australia and New Zealand Managing Director at the launch event earlier this week.

“The launch of our RAP is an important milestone in Pfizer’s journey to reconciliation and a demonstration of our organisation’s values of Courage, Equity, Excellence and Joy.

“Reconciliation requires us to move at the pace of trust. It is not a ‘tick a box’ exercise or a process to be rushed. While our organisation may move at pace over many things, reconciliation is about making sure we have a deep collective and individual understanding of our responsibility to reconciliation foremost, rather than rushing into solutions or actions,” she said.

Joined by The Hon. Ken Wyatt, AM MP (Minister for Indigenous Australians) and featuring video messages from Karen Mundine, CEO of Reconciliation Australia; Yvonne Weldon, Chairperson of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council; the Hon Linda Burney MP, Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Australians; Alex Greenwich, NSW Independent MP and Dixie Crawford, Managing Director of Nganya, leaders expressed their recognition of the rigour underpinning Pfizer’s RAP process.

“I have been encouraged by the great curiosity, empathy and courage Pfizer colleagues have demonstrated as we lean into some difficult conversations about truth-telling of our colonial past. This has helped us understand where we are today with First Nations people and the inequalities around social determinants of health,” Ms Harris said.

“Pfizer is a workplace of inclusion and significant diversity. Its colleagues in Australia represent 49 distinct cultural backgrounds and 43 native languages, however, none who have identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander peoples. We aim to take action and create the environment to change this,” she said.

“The company has set RAP goals around employment and procurement planning and have already made great progress.”

Leigh Simmonds, Pfizer’s Corporate Social Responsibility and RAP lead said that it is the company’s “goal to make sure we are a culturally safe workplace which fosters employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, and work with more First Nations businesses”.

Our RAP advisors have been an incredible source of knowledge and inspiration and we thank them all very much for their trust, leadership and expertise,” she said.

Karen Mundine, CEO of Reconciliation Australia said in a note to Pfizer on the launch of its first RAP: “RAPs provide a framework for organisations to support the national reconciliation movement, with close to 3 million people now working or studying in an organisation with a RAP.

“This Reflect RAP enables Pfizer to deepen its understanding of its sphere of influence and the unique contribution it can make to progress across the five dimensions of reconciliation: race relations, equality and equity, institutional integrity, unity, and historical acceptance.

“Getting these first steps right ensures the sustainability of future RAPs and reconciliation initiatives,” Ms Mundine said.