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Chairman's Message

Charles Goode - Chairman

This report is concerned with our responsibilities to all our stakeholders: our staff, our customers, the community, the environment and our shareholders.

It reviews our progress in these areas and sets new targets for the future and we are pleased that we have made significant progress in 2007. We are embracing the challenges and seeking innovative ways to address them. Our aim is to be a respected, responsible corporate citizen that recognises and constructively faces up to our responsibilities to all of our stakeholders.

Our people are becoming more engaged with our corporate responsibility agenda. Our financial literacy programs are assisting thousands of vulnerable Australians. We are lowering our lost time injury frequency rate, responding to the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce, focusing on increasing the number of women in leadership positions and building employment opportunities for Indigenous Australians.

We have continued to focus on the needs of our customers and our retail customer satisfaction score remains high.

The Equator Principles have become a standard part of our assessment of project finance proposals and are providing a useful framework for our consideration of social and environmental issues in other parts of our Institutional business.

We are involved in the global response to climate change, assisting our clients to understand and manage the risks and opportunities. While our own environmental footprint is not significant, we are making progress in reducing the Bank's own impact and this is receiving considerable attention in the plans for our new office at Docklands in Victoria.

We have had another solid year for our shareholders with a higher profit and higher dividends. We have plans to continue to be a satisfactory investment for our shareholders in the future.

This year the Board supported the OECD Guidelines for Multinational enterprises as a framework to help us further develop our corporate responsibility approach. The commitment to the Guidelines will be reflected in the Bank's policies and practices. I anticipate the Guidelines will be particularly useful as we expand our existing interests and pursue new opportunities in Asia.

On a final note, we are very pleased that we were assessed as the leading bank globally on the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. This provides recognition of the efforts of our staff to create a successful and responsible corporation.