Driven by a committed workforce, the Australia Post Perth Parcel Centre has received an internal makeover thanks to local Noongar artist Kevin Bynder.
Unveiled to Australia Post staff and guests on April 15, the mural on one of the parcel centre’s main walls is now the centrepiece that tells the story of Australia Post.
Bynder told NIT the mural represents the four shifts who work at the parcel centre, as well as the different modes of transport used to deliver post to Australia from around the world.
“I’ve got the railway line … rail is big and important … I’ve got the [landing strip] when the aeroplanes come over, they see the shape of the land … I’ve got the ocean, [for post] by sea, and I’ve also got the sky in there as well for things that come by plane,” he said.
At about five-and-a-half by three metres, the mural took Bynder just three days to paint. More than just an artist to Australia Post, Bynder has a unique family history with the organisation.
“My dad used to work here, he’s retired now, and Dad’s brother, my Uncle Kev, I think he’s been here 21 years. And my wife has worked for Australia Post for 20 years this year,” he said.
Bynder himself has also had a short stint with Australia Post.
“Quite a few years ago I did some Christmas runs, too.”
Australia Post’s National Indigenous Manager, Noongar man Chris Heelan, said the mural represents more than just brightening up the space at Perth Parcel Centre.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity led by the employees of this particular facility … in regards to their wish to do more to acknowledge First Nations people, and particularly a lot of the Aboriginal workforce that currently work here and who have previously worked at this particular facility,” he said.
With an Indigenous workforce of 1,113 nationally, Australia Post wants to grow this workforce — particularly in Western Australia.
“Whether its school-based, adult traineeships, direct employment … at the moment we do apprenticeships in mechanical, servicing our fleet of trucks,” Heelan said.
“There’s a focus on attracting youth and all diversity groups within Australia Post. Particularly for our Aboriginal employees … we want the talent. We want Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to come and work with us in our roles right across the country.
“I think the other important focus for us is about not only employing Aboriginal people but ensuring that our mob have representation at supervisory and managerial levels.”
Currently Australia Post runs an emerging leadership program in collaboration with TAFE NSW, now in its third year. The program is going national in June, and Heelan says there are already a number of Indigenous people in WA who have applied for the program.
“Equally, we’re having a look at having Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at that more middle to senior level representation in our management … [Australia] Post wants to have more Aboriginal people in senior roles,” he said.
Rod Barnes, Australia Post’s Executive General Manager Deliveries, is this ear’s executive sponsor of Australia Post’s Reconciliation Action Plan. He says the postal service is looking to exceed the four per cent mark of Aboriginal employment, but that numbers aren’t everything when it comes to meeting such goals.
“We think we know how to bring First Nations people in and people of all diversities, but we’re not always getting it right. It’s just a question of stop, recalibrate and listen,” Barnes said.
“If you do the actions … then numbers will take care of themselves.”
Barnes said the mural launch was a great example of “the workforce coming together as a group of employees to suggest how they can connect with the community”.
For Bynder, the mural also helps to reflect the multicultural nature of the Perth Parcel Centre’s workforce.
“[Perth Parcel Centre] is very multicultural, you’ve got a lot of cultures under the one roof, and quite a few Indigenous workers here and throughout Australia Post,” he said.
“As I was working people were really asking a lot of questions … it’s significant in the sense of the recognition that Australia Post has given not only to Indigenous workers but to Indigenous people themselves. There should be more of that.”
By Hannah Cross