ESG / Social

Community

Making a positive contribution to the community is a non-negotiable for a firm of our size and structure. We are grateful to be able to support several worthy charities in the pursuit to help others.

As part of our Workplace Giving Program, we support charities at state and national levels with financial support, item donations and volunteer time. Our state and national focus ensures our people have the opportunity to contribute to a local charity.

Supporting these organisations not only allows us to contribute meaningfully to society, it has multiple positive impacts on our people – including wellness, mental health and the development of soft skills.

Our chosen charities for 2024 are:

(National)

Youngcare was established as a not-for-profit organisation in 2005 whose purpose is to improve the lives of thousands of young Australians living with physical disabilities. The provision of housing, grants and information support services provide awareness, independence and choice for young Australians and gives a voice to advocate for equality, acceptance and inclusion.

(Queensland)

Zephyr Education Inc help children at domestic violence shelters resume their education by supplying them with everything they need to start at their new school. Zephyr’s mission is to help these children make as smooth a transition as possible to their new school.

(New South Wales)

Pink Elephants provides the latest resources, information and peer-support for anyone impacted by early pregnancy loss. Their digital-first approach offers a single source of specialist support, whenever and wherever it’s needed.

(Victoria)

Ready Set provide individuals who do not own and could not afford suitable clothing to wear to job interviews with the items they needed and ensure that jobseekers are not disadvantaged by the gaps that exist between social, charitable and other services.

Diversity and inclusion

From helping people feel safe, respected and comfortable being themselves, through to encouraging different ideas and opinions – diversity is an essential part of the success of our firm.

Our proactive approach to diversity and inclusion (D&I) enables our people to celebrate their individuality and build long lasting relationships with people who understand and accept them. It drives innovation, collaboration and authenticity and helps us better understand and create unique solutions for our clients. 

Our diversity and inclusion pursuits are driven by our Chair of Partners, Paul Hopkins. Paul is passionate about the firm’s commitment and growth in this area and, in addition to leading our D&I committee internally, he is also on the Queensland Law Society’s Equity & Diversity committee.

Our D&I initiatives are in line with the firm’s Social ESG strategy and the committee meet regularly to develop programs, events, communications and education pieces to raise awareness and contribute to progress.

We are privileged to have held events with high-profile human rights ambassadors, including former High Court Judge, The Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG and the Vice President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, Nicholas Stewart. We are grateful for the insights and opportunities these relationships provide, as well as how they help us contribute meaningfully to D&I pursuits.

Our D&I committee have been responsible for implementing several initiatives and policies including:

  • D&I training for our people
  • Flexible working policies
  • Equitable Briefing policy
  • Parental Leave Program
  • Domestic & Family Violence
  • Support Policy

We know diversity extends well beyond disability, sexuality, culture, religion and gender and we work to ensure all of our people feel accepted and included.

We recognise the diversity that exists within Carter Newell and acknowledge and celebrate dates that hold significance for our people, including Mardi Gras, National Reconciliation Week, NAIDOC Week, International Women’s Day, Wear it Purple Day and Mental Health Month.

Our current diversity and inclusion initiatives include:

Disability

Established in 1999, our Disability Support Program is focused on Access, Ability and Wellbeing and has provided an opportunity for several of our people with neurodiversity to flourish in a corporate office environment.

Culture

We recognise and celebrate cultural diversity at all levels. Our Public Holiday Swap policy allows our people to recognise days that may hold religious or cultural significance to them.  In addition, our Reconciliation Action Plan outlines our commitment to engage and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, protocols and events.

LGBTIQA+

We have partnered with PFLAG+ (Parents and Friends of lesbians and Gays+) to provide pro-bono legal services. We are a member of Pride in Law, support Twenty10 incorporating GLCS NSW and host rainbow events each year. We also recognise and hold events around Wear it Purple Day and Madi Gras.

Gender

Our diversity initiatives prioritise creating an environment where individuals of all genders have equal opportunities for success. Our most recent Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) report highlights a negative gender pay gap. We prioritise active participation in advancing gender equality within our industry and have embraced the Equitable Briefing Policy set forth by the Law Council of Australia.

Reconciliation

Our vision for reconciliation is an Australia that acknowledges and embraces the histories and cultures of First Nations peoples. An Australia that embraces unity between First Nations peoples and other Australians, and a national culture that represents equality and equity.

We believe reconciliation is achieved through raising awareness, and education while also providing opportunities for First Nations peoples within our organisation and the legal profession.

Our Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) outlines the firm’s commitment to not only engage but also increase our awareness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, protocols and events. Our RAP includes goals for further developing our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, with continued celebrations and support across National Reconciliation Week and NAIDOC week, as well as building on relationships with local tribes in each of our office locations.

We are committed to the ongoing education and empowerment of our people and our community, encouraging progression towards a reconciled Australia beyond the confines of our office.

RAP Initiatives

We want to contribute towards creating a reconciled legal industry that is inclusive, diverse and that is culturally safe and accessible for First Nations peoples.

To help bridge the cultural divide between First Nations students and the legal profession, we partnered with the Queensland Law Society’s LawLink program. We have since established a work experience program with students from Mabel Park State High School and interested students have been presented employment opportunities post-high school graduation.

Health and wellbeing

The wellbeing of our people is our top priority. We want to help everyone in our firm achieve a balance between their personal and professional lives, resulting in better health, wellbeing and happiness.

We have implemented a mental health toolkit that provides our people with the tools and resources to assist them (or help them assist someone else) with a mental health challenge, and we have a wellbeing allowance as part of our employee benefits program. 

Carter Newell is recognised as an Accredited Skilled Workplace in the Mental Health First Aid Workplace Recognition Program. We have 14 accredited mental health first aid officers, including eight partners. We are committed to developing mental health first aid skills across the firm and support solutions for mental health challenges in our community.

Here’s how we help ensure the health and wellbeing of our people:

Flexible work arrangements

Another key element to ensuring the wellbeing of our people is supporting the balance between work and their personal activities and obligations. We offer multiple flexible work arrangements including reduced hours, variable start and finish times, job sharing, remote working, leave of absence and flexibility around study commitments.

Free access to help and support

We actively encourage conversations about mental health. 14 of our people are qualified and accredited Mental Health First Aid Officers and all of our people and their immediate family members have access to qualified and experienced psychologists through our Employee Assistance Program.

Commitment to awareness

Throughout the year we support events and activities to promote and raise awareness of the importance of prioritising mental health. We have participated in Mental Health Month, RUOK? Day and had external speakers join us to share their personal experiences. 

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