Priority focus on Indigenous engagement
BESIX Watpac’s targeting of ambitious Indigenous employment rates on its projects has been formalised with the launch of a new company-wide, National Indigenous Participation (Employment) Policy.
Driven by the company’s National Indigenous Affairs Manager James Alley, the Policy seeks to achieve more than simply create jobs for Indigenous workers.
Addressing an Indigenous Engagement Forum on a new Brisbane construction project, James explained that the major objective of the policy is to increase economic independence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the construction industry.
“This goes much deeper than finding jobs for a few Indigenous workers. It’s about engaging with Indigenous owned businesses that supply the full range of requirements from subcontracting through to supply of materials and specialist services,” James said.
BESIX Watpac has been achieving high levels of Indigenous employment on recent projects, some well above 10% with no contractual obligation to do so. The focus on Indigenous engagement is a key obligation under BESIX Watpac’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
Addressing the Indigenous Engagement Forum for The Oxlade luxury apartment project in Brisbane, BESIX Watpac’s Chief Development Officer Mary-Jane Bellotti, told representatives of several Indigenous owned businesses that the company was serious about targeting high levels Indigenous engagement.
“It’s time the construction industry stopped looking at Indigenous engagement as a duty and started looking at it for what it really is, an opportunity. By increasing our cultural awareness and actively engaging with Indigenous owned enterprises, we grow the pool of talented people we have available to advance our business,” Mary-Jane said.
The Indigenous engagement forum for The Oxlade project is being repeated across the country for other projects. Yesterday’s forum heard inspiring stories of successful Indigenous owned businesses which are achieving very high levels of Indigenous employment. Three senior members of the Amaroo Landscape Group attended the forum and revealed the success of their recruitment and training program which has achieved an Indigenous employment rate of up to 30%.
BESIX Watpac’s National Indigenous Participation (Employment) Policy is available at besixwatpac.com.au or click here to download.
“It’s time the construction industry stopped looking at Indigenous engagement as a duty and started looking at it for what it really is, an opportunity. By increasing our cultural awareness and actively engaging with Indigenous owned enterprises, we grow the pool of talented people we have available to advance our business."
Mary-Jane Bellotti, BESIX Watpac Chief Development Officer