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How successful are we on diversity and inclusion? A time for reflection on International Women’s Day

Last week, 300 women joined at our fifth Annual Women’s Day Conference to talk diversity and to share their personal experiences.

They included train drivers, network controllers, apprentices, tradespeople, engineers, customer account executives, and business analysts – women from all walks of life, who live and work in big and small communities across our national footprint. The conference started with a Welcome to Country by Tahlea Waia, who recently joined us an Indigenous intern under the Career Trackers program, and was closed by our newly-appointed CFO Pam Bains.

For me, it was a great opportunity to listen and to learn. As the new CEO I had seen great capability in my travels to Aurizon depots, but this one-day event gave me such a terrific insight into what diversity really means for women in the Company. Now in its fifth year and scheduled around IWD, Aurizon’s Women’s Day Conference provides employees with professional development opportunities as well as acknowledging the outstanding contribution our women are making to Aurizon, our customers and the communities in which our business operates.

I re-affirmed our commitment to achieving 30% women across our workforce, including higher representation in our leadership ranks. We’re currently tracking at 19.5%, a significant improvement from just 11% five years ago. Targets alone, however, are not the goal but rather the improved capability and business outcomes we gain in the process.

It was also a great opportunity to share my thoughts on taking Aurizon’s diversity journey to the next level through creating a more inclusive workplace.

Aurizon has strong foundations in place to create a more diverse workforce, bringing different people and different perspectives together, and generating better business outcomes. Like many other Australian companies we see enduring benefits in investing in diversity and inclusivity.

In recent years, we have embedded a range of programs to help develop the capability of the women in our workforce, including our Transition to Operations program, targeted recruitment processes, mentoring programs and providing parenting support to the males and females through our Shared Care initiative, a first for corporate Australia.

Our focus now is on how we take this work to the next level, and making sure the investment delivers tangible, commercial benefits to the business. Through creating an environment of involvement, respect and participation, Aurizon will not only get the most out if its workforce, it will help us attract and retain our talent. And by integrating inclusive behaviour with how we do business and how we make decisions, it will help us be best that we can be, creating value for our customers and for our shareholders.

In Aurizon, we all have role to play in ensuring that our behaviours are inclusive, whether it be through empowering people in meetings and forums, or ensuring that we engage with each other in a clear and consistent way by saying what we mean. Different perspectives need to be encouraged, explored and assessed. No matter what your position in an organisation or what your differences are, we all have something valuable to contribute; a new perspective to bring to the table; a better and smarter way of doing things. This is at the heart of Aurizon’s aspiration for a high-performance and inclusive culture.

Andrew Harding
Managing Director & CEO