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Herbert Smith Freehills has launched an Australian Ability Network to support its employees with a disability, as well as those caring for someone with a disability. 

The Australian Ability Network reflects Herbert Smith Freehills’ commitment to creating a diverse and  inclusive workplace, and builds upon the success of the firm’s London Ability Network. It aims to raise awareness and increase employment and development opportunities for people with a disability.

The Network was launched on 13 December in Sydney, where Disability Discrimination Commissioner Alastair McEwin gave a keynote speech to Herbert Smith Freehills staff.

Executive Sponsor of the Network and Chief Operating Officer Nicole Bamforth said, “The creation of the Australian Ability Network shows our deep commitment to ensuring our colleagues with disabilities are supported and included in all aspects of their lives at the firm.

“It’s a practical initiative that will bring together people from across the firm to offer alternative perspectives and support for the individual needs of our people including access to resources, flexible work practices and professional development opportunities. I expect that the benefits of the Network will be felt by all of our staff.”

The creation of the Network is an integral part of the firm’s Global Diversity and Inclusion strategy.

Sue Gilchrist, Regional Managing Partner, Asia and Australia said, “As a firm we know that when people can bring their whole, authentic selves to work, everyone benefits including our clients.”

“We celebrate our similarities as well as our differences, and the Australian Ability Network will ensure that people with a disability feel safe and supported whilst also providing the practical resources needed to allow all people at the firm to thrive.”

Herbert Smith Freehills is also keenly focussed on a broad range of inclusive programs. It recently launched its global IRIS network for LGBTI staff and their allies, bringing together regional networks to foster a collaborative approach to inclusion. The firm also has an active focus on multiculturalism and has launched a cultural background survey for all people working in its Asia-Pacific offices. The firm is a recipient of the WGEA Employer of Choice for Gender Equality citation. 

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