SPONSORED: Coles Express has teamed up with Indigenous owned and operated organisation the Kimberley Birds to establish stronger relationships with local Indigenous communities.

At Coles Express Halls Creek, where more than half of the workforce is Indigenous, the team has partnered with the Kimberley Birds to support local community organisations including Menkawum Ngurra Frail Aged Hostel, Yura Yungi Medical Service and the local Centrelink office, by donating 50 kangaroo tails and 480 bottles of sanitiser.

Founder of the Kimberley Birds, Natasha Short, a descendant of the Jaru people of Halls Creek, said teaming up with Coles Express was a great example of large businesses strengthening relationships with local communities.

“The Kimberley Jiyigas are pleased to support the work Coles Express in Halls Creek has done over the past few months,” she said.

“The commitment by Coles to ensure Indigenous people are represented in its workforce at both Kununurra and Halls Creek has been recognised by local people as a great step in the right direction.”

Natasha Short, founder of Kimberley Jiyigas, in her SUV. Photo supplied.

Coles Express Regional Manager Gavin Coleman said he was excited about the impact this would have on the local community.

“The team at Coles Express are constantly looking for ways to support the remote and regional communities that we operate in,” Mr Coleman said.

“We’ve formed a close relationship with local leaders to ensure we are listening to their needs.”

“With the support of our Indigenous Affairs team, we’re proud to be one of the first large corporate organisations to adopt Halls Creek council’s Indigenous artwork initiative.”

Recently, Coles Express Halls Creek has also adopted Indigenous-branded work shirts, implemented art initiatives and community surveys, as well as reviewing changes to the store’s product range based on local feedback.

The store has also increased its focus on Indigenous employment, with Indigenous employees now making 62 per cent of the Coles Express Halls Creek team.

The Kimberley Birds are just one of 50 Indigenous suppliers Coles has worked with over the past 12 months.

The company is recognised as the largest corporate sector employer of Indigenous Australians, with a workforce of more than 4,800 Indigenous team members, with plans to increase Indigenous team member representation to five per cent of the total workforce by 2023.