METRONET’s Gnarla Biddi Strategy ensures our projects create opportunities for Aboriginal people through five engagement streams. The strategy is achieving positive outcomes since it was accepted by the Whadjuk and Gnaala Karla Booja Working Parties in December 2018.
In recognition of National Reconciliation Week 2020, we’re shining the light on two streams; Aboriginal Procurement and Aboriginal Employment.
Aboriginal business Gambara have hit the ground running since they started in November 2018, winning a number of government contracts and expanding their team to take on two new Aboriginal employees. Another feather in their cap was winning the METRONET Denny Avenue Level Crossing Removal early works in late 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 is a significant step in the right direction.
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. Boodjah Contracting founder, director and Noongar man Al Browning (pictured left) said that it’s only a small job, but he considered it ‘a foot in the door’ and was hopeful that it would lead to more METRONET work for his company and other Aboriginal people.
Our lead contractors are also paving the way toward METRONET’s Aboriginal Employment targets. Following contract award in December 2019 to build the Thornlie-Cockburn Link and Yanchep Rail Extension, NEWest Alliance (CPB Contractors and Downer EDI) have mobilised an Aboriginal Participation team who are ready to hit the ground running.
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, John brings over 25 years’ of experience in Aboriginal engagement spanning the university sector, civil construction and mining industries.
Passionate about closing the gap, John is looking forward to supporting Aboriginal business to grow, to see better attraction and retention of Aboriginal employees in the construction sector, and the flow on effects to families and communities.
Supporting John is Chance Bateman (pictured below), the NEWest Alliance’s Aboriginal Participation Coordinator. Originally from York in Western Australia, Chance returned home to Perth eight years ago after forging a decorated 177-game career at Hawthorn Football Club in Melbourne. Highlights included winning the 2008 AFL Premiership, being the club’s first Aboriginal player to reach 100 games and being the first Aboriginal player to be awarded the club’s life membership.
Since returning to Perth, Chance has worked in several Aboriginal engagement and community relations roles, harnessing his success to become a role model and have a positive impact on the lives and careers of Aboriginal people.
“Football has been a big part of my life and I’ve always looked to use my sporting profile to be a role model and have a positive impact on the lives and careers of Aboriginal people,” he said.
“The Thornlie-Cockburn Link is an exciting project and there is a lot of scope for Aboriginal companies and people to be involved. There are a range of skills and talents that the project needs and we are engaging with many Aboriginal businesses and people who want to be a part of it.”
With a number of projects heading into construction this year, there will be many opportunities for local Aboriginal businesses and employees to support the delivery of METRONET projects.
If you are a registered Aboriginal business, or more than 50 per cent Aboriginal-owned, we encourage you to complete our Construction Business Register to have your business listed as interested in hearing about METRONET work opportunities.
For Aboriginal employment opportunities, keep an eye out on the JobsWA website for opportunities to work in various METRONET teams.