2 June 2022

Whitehaven and Clontarf extend support for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men across North West NSW

Whitehaven Coal is proud to be extending its partnership with the Clontarf Foundation for a further three years as a national partner organisation, with Clontarf working towards opening an academy in Gunnedah in the near future.

Whitehaven has been a long-time partner of Clontarf, which harnesses the power of sport to support school retention amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys. Through academies in almost 150 schools across the country, Clontarf is supporting more than 10,000 young men to improve year 12 graduation rates and transition from school into further study or employment.

Whitehaven CEO and Managing Director, Paul Flynn, said the partnership aligns closely with the company’s focus on empowering future generations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

“At the heart of our approach is a commitment to practical steps that make a substantial and sustainable difference. Whether it be through working with partner organisations like the Clontarf Foundation, or our well-recognised employment strategy, we strive for outcomes that will contribute to intergenerational change,” Mr Flynn added.

“We’ve seen the amazing progress at Clontarf’s Narrabri and Quirindi academies in a short period of time, and we’re excited to be working with the team at Clontarf to bring the same program to the Gunnedah community in the short term.”

“For us, this partnership is not just about delivering financial support for local academies – we’re helping to drive long-term change by providing opportunities for students to visit our mines, engage with staff and learn more about a potential career in mining.”

“I know our people are incredibly passionate about the work we do with Clontarf and we look forward to continuing to support the positive impact they have in our communities over the next three years.”

The Clontarf Foundation CEO Gerard Neesham OAM welcomed the continued partnership.

“Whitehaven has been a great supporter for us over many years and we’re excited about the opportunity to expand into Gunnedah together,” Mr Neesham said.

“We rely heavily on our partners on many levels, not just financial, and we’re particularly grateful for the support we’ve received from Whitehaven’s staff. Our boys have relished the opportunity to experience what it’s like in the workforce, get out into the mines and see what the future might hold for them.”

Expanding the partnership with Clontarf Foundation comes as Whitehaven also celebrated the community launch of its third Reconciliation Action Plan at the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre in Gunnedah.

The Hon. Kevin Anderson, Member for Tamworth, Councillor Charles Lynch of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council, and Winanga-Li CEO, Wayne Griffiths Jr, participated in the launch ceremony, which was held during National Reconciliation Week.

Paul Flynn said the company’s third RAP, its second ‘Stretch’ RAP, features a range of measures to drive even greater value for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

“We’re incredibly passionate about the work we do with the Gomeroi and Barada Barna Traditional Owners and we’re proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together,” Mr Flynn added.

“But we also recognise we have more to do and can’t take our progress for granted – we need to build on this platform.”

“Our second Stretch RAP focuses on strengthening our actions and initiatives so they truly become business as usual for our people across the business.”

“It provides a roadmap for the future that will keep us accountable and ensure we continue to empower local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people through initiatives in the areas of early childhood education and support, schooling, skills development, employment, and sport.”

The event at Winanga-Li was an opportunity to celebrate the launch of Whitehaven’s second Stretch RAP with the local community, following the plan’s endorsement by Reconciliation Australia in late 2021.

Read the full Reconciliation Action Plan.

Pictured: Whitehaven Coal Managing Director and CEO Paul Flynn, Whitehaven Director Fiona Robertson, NSW Aboriginal Land Council Councillor for the Northern Region Charles Lynch, Member for Tamworth Kevin Anderson MP, Clontarf Foundation Partnerships Manager James Grant, and Winanga-Li Child & Family Centre CEO Wayne Griffiths Jr join community members to celebrate Whitehaven’s second Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan.

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