METRONET highlights Aboriginal procurement and employment for Reconciliation Week

Legislation to establish Infrastructure WA (IWA) will be introduced to the Western Australian Parliament this week, with the organisation’s chair-designate now also appointed.In recognition of National Reconciliation Week 2020, METRONET is highlighting Aboriginal procurement and employment.

The Gnarla Biddi Strategy, employed on METRONET projects, ensures the works create opportunities for Aboriginal people through five engagement streams.

METRONET’s five streams include, Noongar cultural recognition, Noongar cultural input into place making, Aboriginal procurement, Aboriginal employment and Land access and Sites management.

Since the strategy was accepted by the Whadjuk and Gnaala Karla Booja Working Parties in December 2018 it has achieved positive outcomes.

One Aboriginal business Gambara have won a number of government contracts and are expanding the team to take on two new Aboriginal employees. The business won the METRONET Denny Avenue Level Crossing Removal early works in 2019, which included site investigations and surveys, environmental services, stakeholder consultation and managing subcontractors.

Fledgling Neerabup-based Aboriginal demolition and excavation company Boodjah Contracting also has big plans for the future and securing its first contract on the METRONET project.

Boodjah Contracting will remove asbestos within the rail corridor of METRONET’s Thornlie-Cockburn Link, as part of preparations for major construction to begin later this year.

While Boodjah Contracting founder, director and Noongar man Al Browning said it is only a small job, he considered it a foot in the door and was hopeful it would lead to more METRONET work for his company and other Aboriginal people.

Other contractors are also moving forward by working their way towards METRONET’s Aboriginal employment targets.

CPB Contractors and Downer EDI as the NEWest Alliance, building the Thornlie-Cockburn Link and Yanchep Rail extension, have mobilised and Aboriginal participation team.

John Mallard is the NEWest Alliance Aboriginal Participation Manager responsible for ensuring opportunities for Aboriginal participation and input are harnessed as the two projects are built. A Yamatji man, Mr. Mallard brings over 25 years’ of experience in Aboriginal engagement spanning the university sector, civil construction and mining industries.

With a number of other projects heading into construction in 2020, METRONET said there will be many opportunities for local Aboriginal businesses and employees to support the delivery of METRONET projects.

The organisation is urging Aboriginal businesses, or more than 50 per cent Aboriginal-owned businesses, to complete METRONET’s Construction Business Register to ensure the business is listed as interested in hearing about METRONET work opportunities.

For Aboriginal employment opportunities, METRONET suggested monitoring the JobsWA website for opportunities to work in various METRONET teams.

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