We will make a positive contribution to the communities in which we operate.
We have an impact on our communities in a variety of ways: meeting the basic needs of the community such as food, clothing and tools; providing employment for nearly one in every 55 working Australians; paying taxes to governments; and providing support to not-for-profit organisations. With 98 per cent of our revenue earned in Australia and 75 per cent of our shares on issue held in Australia, we have a significant positive impact on the Australian economy, as well as contributing to other economies.
Where we are
As at June 2014, we employed 207,282 people across Australia and New Zealand, as well as in Asia and the United Kingdom. Of these, approximately 134,000 are permanent and 73,000 are casual. In addition to our employees, our divisions engage contractors in a range of roles. There are also seasonal variations in employment numbers, with a peak throughout the Christmas/Summer period in line with the broader retail industry.
These numbers include approximately 4,000 employees in our Insurance division, whose employment transferred to the purchasers of our Insurance businesses during June 2014.
We have had a net increase in our remaining businesses of around 1,300 employees over the year mostly due to store openings and growth in the Bunnings business.
Economic contribution to the community
$7,787 million in wages $1,880 million in taxes
This year, we paid more than $7,787 million in wages and salaries to our 207,000 employees, as well as $1,880 million in taxes, levies and royalties, and $2,235 million in dividends to our 500,000 shareholders.
A summary of our financial performance for the year is below and further detail can be found in our 2014 annual report.
Wesfarmers and its divisions contribute to the strength and vibrancy of the communities in which they operate by assisting a range of community organisations. Our divisions create value for the community in ways that best fit with their core business and geographic spread, from school supplies for children in need to supporting children in crisis and assistance for women’s refuges.
At a Group level, Wesfarmers supports medical research, organisations targeting Indigenous disadvantage, education and other community initiatives through its community partnerships program. This year, we were proud to provide support to the Telethon Kids Institute to establish the Wesfarmers Centre of Vaccines and Infectious Diseases, which aims to lower the burden of infectious diseases experienced by Western Australian and Aboriginal children specifically.
In this, our centenary year, Wesfarmers also contributed to the construction of the Convoy Walk and Convoy Lookout, part of the new National ANZAC Centre in Albany, Western Australia, from where most Australian and New Zealand soldiers departed 100 years ago for Gallipoli.
Across the Group, this year we directly contributed $44.6 million to community organisations, which equates to 1.1 per cent of earnings before interest and tax and 1.7 per cent of net profit after tax. This was lower than last year’s contribution, partially because in the previous year we established the Wesfarmers Chair of Australian History at the University of Western Australia, which was a significant one-off contribution to mark the University's centenary year.
Direct community contributions
Wesfarmers is a member of the London Benchmarking Group (LBG) and we use its methodology to measure and report our community contributions. LBG’s verification statement can be found here. Community contributions made by our Home Improvement and Office Supplies, Industrial and Safety and Kmart divisions are assured by Ernst & Young, whose assurance statement can be found here.
In addition to our direct contributions, the Group facilitated donations from customers and employees, totalling $50.8 million this year, which went to a wide range of community initiatives.
Further detail on our community contributions at a divisional level can be found in the databank.
The award-winning Wesfarmers Arts program continues to provide major ongoing support to a number of premier Australian arts companies. With a focus on increasing the opportunities for the community to experience quality art and culture from Australia and the world, Wesfarmers has been working in partnership with both national and Western Australian arts companies since 1985. Our belief is that a vibrant cultural sector makes a positive contribution to the lives of all Australians.
Principal WASO Conductor Asher Fisch. Photographer Emma Van Dordrecht
A highlight of the year was our support of West Australian Symphony Orchestra (WASO) to appoint acclaimed Israeli conductor and pianist Asher Fisch to the role of Principal Conductor of WASO. Wesfarmers Arts is Principal Partner of WASO and West Australian Opera (WAO), supporting both companies’ ongoing programs of main house events and their extensive community outreach and educational programs. In 2013, the Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Program provided a first-time international residency opportunity for two young WAO artists to train with leading operatic artists in New York and we took our support of West Australian Ballet to a new level with the establishment of an annual Wesfarmers Arts Young Artist Scholarship.
Our exhibition LUMINOUS WORLD: contemporary art from the Wesfarmers Collection embarked on a two-year national tour, travelling in August 2013 to Charles Darwin University Art Gallery as part of the Darwin Festival and onto the National Library in Canberra from April to June 2014. The exhibition will tour all Australian states until 2015, bringing contemporary art from the Wesfarmers collection to communities around the country for the first time. To find out when the exhibition is coming near you, please see here.
Also reaching a national audience is the Wesfarmers Arts Indigenous Fellowships and Leadership program with the National Gallery of Australia. Now in its fourth year, the program sees up to 12 Indigenous arts workers from around the country participate each year in an award-winning professional development program with staff and collections of the National Gallery.