Lendlease Corporation submission in response to the Interim Voice co-design report.
Lendlease acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to
them and their Elders past and present. As a business that works across many locations, we
have a responsibility to listen, learn and walk alongside First Nations peoples to ensure our
activities support their ongoing connection to their lands, waters, cultures, languages and
traditions. We value their custodianship of 65,000 years.
Founded in Sydney in 1958 by Dutch immigrant and innovator Dick Dusseldorp, Lendlease
successfully combines the disciplines of development, construction and investment to create
places designed and built upon the foundations of our ethical and social obligations to
stakeholders and the community at large.
In Australia our business includes a diverse range of development and management activity,
including large scale urban residential projects, the management of a portfolio of 72
retirement communities, and management of 16 shopping centres and retail precincts
throughout Australia, with 83 million plus customers visiting these retail destinations
Lendlease employs approximately 8,000 people in Australia. Our people work across the
country: in our Sydney head office at Barangaroo, in State and Regional offices, in client and
project offices, in retail centres, retirement communities, on construction sites and in sales
Lendlease’s Reconciliation journey
After almost a decade since the release of our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) our
current Australian Elevate Reconciliation Action Plan, Country, Truth and our Shared Story,
2020-2023, outlines our commitment to support the Uluru Statement from the Heart, self-
determination and community led, designed and delivered services and programs.
When we started our RAP journey in 2010, our RAP Expert Panel made it very clear that if
we were serious about supporting the self-determination of First Nations peoples, our RAP
partnerships should be with First Nations owned, governed and managed organisations, and
our relationships made long and deep with the Traditional Owners and the First Nations
communities where we operate. This really set our direction and a key foundational learning:
that self-determination starts in communities, it is place based, and this knowledge guides
our strategy and actions today.
Support for Constitutional recognition and Uluru Statement from the Heart
Prior to the Uluru Statement from the Heart, Lendlease has publicly supported constitutional
reform. In our last RAP, we partnered with the Recognise campaign to raise awareness and
start a national conversation about the need for constitutional reform, and in 2019,
Lendlease Group CEO and Managing Director Steve McCann was one of fourteen
Australian CEOs who came together to respond to the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
“While there has been some debate about whether business should be engaging in social
issues like this, it seemed to me that as an Elevate RAP organisation, we have an obligation
to respond to the invitation issued by the First Nations Convention to engage with them on
the Uluru Statement from the Heart. Coming together with other Elevate RAP organisations
to develop that response showed our collective commitment to work with First Nations
people towards true Reconciliation.” Steve McCann, Group CEO and Managing Director,
Comments on Indigenous Voice co-design groups’ recommendations
Lendlease welcomes the work of the Government and co-design groups to ensure that First
Nations voices are given primacy in deliberations regarding the development of final models
and their implementation.
We support the right of First Nations people to have a voice and an active role in decision-
making about matters and policies that affect them—as articulated in the UN Declaration on
the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UN Declaration)—as this leads to better outcomes and is
a principle supported by the broader community, as evidenced in Reconciliation Australia’s
Barometer Report 2020.
Government approaches to working with First Nations people must support self-
determination and be consistent with the UN Declaration. These approaches must be
underpinned by clear, structured, and mandated engagement with First Nations people that
ensures their voices are heard in the development and application of legislative and policy
processes and that they are active participants in subsequent implementation and delivery of
We support the recommendations that there is community designed and led governance
structures at a local, regional and national levels, with enabled flexibility to tailor the
approaches and structures in accordance with First Nations peoples wishes.
However, we do not agree with the co-design recommendation that this will be referred to as
the ‘Voice’ because we believe that this confuses and is at odds with the calls in the Uluru
Statement for a constitutionally enshrined Voice to Parliament.
Urgent action needed
For far too long in our nation’s history, First Nations peoples have been excluded from the
structures and function of government. Constitutional enshrinement and legislative design of
a Voice to Parliament has been the widely mandated request from First Nations peoples
through the Uluru Consultation and Convention processes and the resultant Uluru Statement
from the Heart. We believe that supporting this mandate is the most effective and respectful
means of unifying our nation.
We call for the Federal Government to honour its election commitment to a referendum as
soon as the model for the Voice has been decided and that a statement that the Government
actively supports the concept of the Voice is used when shaping the referendum question.
We believe constitutional recognition should occur prior to legislating the Voice to
underline its’ legitimacy and drive increased sustainability and durability over a legislated-
We believe that this is critical and urgent unfinished business.
Executive Lead, First Nations Engagement and Reconciliation, Lendlease
On behalf of the management, Board and staff of Lendlease