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Fostering understanding and trust at Maules Creek

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Young Indigenous rugby players showcase skills at...

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Clontarf students consider local mining careers

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Building trust and respect through cultural...

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Local Indigenous rugby league talent on display at...

We work in partnership with Indigenous people connected to the land where we operate

We aim to work together to address disadvantage and help create stronger families and futures for Indigenous people in North West NSW and in Queensland’s Bowen Basin.

Our approach is specifically designed to be intergenerational in nature. We have oriented our focus towards addressing Indigenous disadvantage through initiatives in the areas of early childhood education and support, schooling, skills development and employment.

This holistic approach provides intergenerational support for children and their families, our employees and prospective employees, so local Indigenous people see their immediate needs being addressed, in addition to creating the socio-economic preconditions for future generations to grow and prosper.

Our Indigenous Employment Strategy helps transform and empower the lives of local Indigenous men and women through meaningful and well-paid work. In 2015, we set an ambitious target of 10% of our workforce at Maules Creek, our newest and largest mine, identifying as Indigenous. We have exceeded that target every year since, and now around 20% of our Maules Creek workforce identifies as Indigenous. Across our broader workforce, around 9% identify as Indigenous.

However our approach goes beyond developing opportunities for employment; our investment aims to ensure local Indigenous people have the self-esteem and confidence to shape more positive futures. The practical measures we invest in are outlined in our Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan, launched in mid-2018.


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of our people identify as Indigenous


in wages flowing back into communities through members of our workforce who identify as Indigenous in FY20


spent with 9 Indigenous businesses in FY20

Supporting Indigenous health and education

We partner with programs that help people in our communities access health and education services. A key partner is the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre in Gunnedah and Narrabri, which has been able to help more children get to and from school, and help families access medical care, thanks to two minibuses purchased by Whitehaven Coal. With our support, Winanga-Li has been able to expand its operations into Lightning Ridge and Brewarrina.

We also support the Girls’ Academy at Gunnedah High School, which aims to increase school attendance, advance academic and personal achievement, improve Year 12 graduation rates, and facilitate post-school transition planning. 50 indigenous girls participate in the program that has helped lift school attendance rates from 72% to 85% over the past three years – almost 10% higher than the broader school attendance rate. We’ve also supported the establishment of a Clontarf Academy, which uses football as a means to help keep young Indigenous boys and men in school, at Narrabri High School.

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Partnering with the Clontarf Foundation

The Clontarf Foundation aims to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Indigenous boys and men, using football as a means to attract, reward and help keep them in school. Since 2000, the Foundation has grown to more than 8,000 Indigenous students participating in programs across the country.

Whitehaven Coal has been working with the Clontarf Foundation since 2016, engaging with students from the Clontarf Academies at Tamworth and Quirindi through regional Employment Forums and site visits to demonstrate the diverse range of rewarding mining career opportunities. In 2019, with our support of $120,000 over three years, Clontarf has established an academy at Narrabri High School, with 56 participating students.

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Engagement with the Barada Barna People in Queensland

Following the acquisition of the Winchester South Project in mid-2018, one of the first stakeholder groups we reached out to was the Barada Barna People. The Barada Barna People are the Traditional Owners of the land in central Queensland where the Winchester South Project is located. In FY19 we entered into a Cultural Heritage Management Plan agreement with the Barada Barna – the first agreement we entered into for the Winchester South Project.

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Reconciliation Action Plan

In 2018, we launched a Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), building upon the objectives and actions in its predecessor RAP launched in 2015. Our RAP operates across all areas of the business and looks to address issues affecting local Indigenous people through a range of practical and meaningful measures. Our commitment focuses on three areas: health and education, employment and procurement. Whether in school, starting out in or re-entering the workforce, or raising a family, our aim is to make a real difference in the lives of local Indigenous people.

Read our Reconciliation Action Plan here.

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