Western Australia’s (WA) Water Corporation has partnered with local Aboriginal land care trainees to help rejuvenate a prominent parcel of utility-owned property.
The team from Indigenous Workabout, which provides employment and training opportunities for Noongar people in South West WA, planted more than 800 native seedlings at the entrance to Dunsborough Lakes Golf Club.
Catchment management group GeoCatch and community volunteers began rehabilitation efforts last year, converting the site from grass to native water-wise vegetation. But with a number of seedlings dying due to the summer heat, more work was needed.
Indigenous Workabout began with a focus on painting and building, but founder Dean Wynne said he now wants to specialise in land care.
Projects like Water Corporation’s help provide on-the-ground training and experience, and Water Corporation Regional Manager John Janssen said it was an example of how investing in training for Indigenous people could lead to real-world employment opportunities.
“Water Corporation has a strong commitment to supporting and providing meaningful opportunities for Aboriginal people around WA, both directly and through contracting opportunities, and this project is a great example of this,” he said.
“We are incredibly fortunate to work alongside so many valued Aboriginal employees here in the South West who have openly shared their culture with us and taught us so much about being more inclusive employers and better people.”
He said the utility had awarded more than $7.8 million in contracts to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander suppliers across WA since 2007.
As part of its 2019-21 Reconciliation Action Plan, Water Corporation has also pledged to increase its number of Indigenous employees from 3.6% to 6% by 2021.