Aqwest has published its first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan which has been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia and officially launched by Water Minister Dave Kelly MLA on 4 March 2022.
The RAP aims to improve and further develop the way Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are engaged in the business and celebrate their cultural connections to water.
Aqwest started its reconciliation journey in 2019 and since then, has worked with the local community to develop a RAP that helps create employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with a target of 3 per cent Aboriginal employment by 2023.
Aqwest aligns its procurement activities with the State Government Aboriginal procurement policy, with a target of 4 per cent of total contract value by 2023-24. The Government owned utility is also committed to forming a relationship and becoming a member of Supply Nation, the Aboriginal Business Network and the Noongar Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the purpose of learning about the most appropriate ways to increase supplier diversity and support Aboriginal business.
The RAP also aims to increase the cultural competence of the workforce, as well as support cultural events within the Greater Bunbury community.
Aqwest’s RAP Working Group, chaired by Board Member Rhonda Norman, a proud Noongar Wilman woman, is overseeing the implementation of the action plan.
The RAP is underpinned by three reconciliation principles - Sharing Custodianship of water, community, land, flora and fauna, Building Connections in the community and culture, and Empowering Community through activities which foster progress towards reconciliation.
“Aqwest’s first Reconciliation Action Plan will help deliver increased Aboriginal employment and improved engagement with Aboriginal people," said Water Minister Dave Kelly.
“During the recent construction and commissioning of the Ngoora Moolinap Water Treatment Plant, Aqwest engaged closely with the local Aboriginal community.
“The plant was named in consultation with local Wardandi-Noongar Elders and as part of this process, lost Noongar language was revived with the extraordinary discovery of the Noongar words; ‘Ngoora’ (water standing in a well) and ‘Moolinap’ (swampy place).
“Congratulations to Aqwest, which like all of WA’s public utilities, is showing leadership on the journey to achieving reconciliation and to creating positive outcomes for all Western Australians.”
Reconciliation Action Plan