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Future Freight Networks : Yearbook 2018
103 FUTURE FREIGHT NETWORKS 2018 community desire to ensure that people from different cultural backgrounds have equal opportunity in the workforce, and that opportunities are also being created for those from less- advantaged circumstances, including those with disabilities. Paul Scurrah, Managing Director and CEO of DP World Australia, reflected on his own organisation’s experience in changing workplace culture by successfully implementing initiatives to eliminate workplace swearing – which was a particular challenge for the stevedoring industry; however, when people understand the reasons behind it and the sound business reasons for enhancing workplace diversity, they are cooperative. He also expressed the belief that it is time to institute a quota system to enhance female representation on boards and in senior management positions. The traditional counterclaim to that view, that people should obtain positions ‘on merit’, is not getting results quickly enough. He pointed out that there are plenty of males who get positions based on who they know, rather than on merit. It is time for a more decisive approach. Jane Lavender-Baker, Group Executive Corporate Affairs and People at the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), referred to McKinsey Global Institute research that shows a definitive link between company performance and diversity in leadership and line management. She said that the discussion within the business community has well and truly moved from an acceptance that diversity ‘is a good thing’ to an exploration of ‘how can we do it?’ She noted that for ARTC, the Inland Rail project will be a big opportunity to partner with the community for not just economic opportunities, but also to employ people who reflect the diverse nature of the communities along the route. Lavender-Baker cited a specific example of ARTC recruiting females in the traditionally male-dominated activity of installing and maintaining signals. A dozen jobs came up in the Hunter region, so ARTC obtained an exemption from the usual anti-discrimination provisions that allowed them to advertise the positions as only being available to female applicants. This resulted in more than 200 applications. The subsequent conversation among panellists and delegates focused on the importance of promoting female participation in the freight logistics industry more widely, so that graduates and the next generation of workforce participants see the sector as a place where they will feel comfortable, and able to achieve their personal career objectives. Megan McCracken and Paul Scurrah Rose Elphick-Darling