3 September 2015
Whitehaven Coal and Reconciliation Australia launch first Reconciliation Action Plan
Whitehaven Coal has launched its inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan at the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre in Gunnedah, North West NSW.
Justin Mohamed, CEO of Reconciliation Australia, The Hon Barnaby Joyce MP, Member for New England and and Haylene Grogan, Director of Reform and Policy, Aboriginal Affairs NSW were on hand to participate in the ceremony.
Whitehaven CEO and Managing Director, Paul Flynn said the launch was a timely opportunity for Whitehaven to reaffirm its commitment to making a meaningful long-term contribution to regional mining communities.
“As a proudly Australian company that calls the Gunnedah Basin home, we don’t take the support of local communities for granted, and we want to ensure that the benefits from our operations accrue locally – including to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities,” Mr Flynn said.
The Reconciliation Action Plan focuses on practical and meaningful efforts Whitehaven will undertake to address issues affecting local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The Plan seeks to align these initiatives with national efforts aimed at closing the social, economic and health gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and the broader Australian population.
“Through close collaboration with Reconciliation Australia and the local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, we have identified a number of projects and partnerships that will deliver opportunities and assistance in the areas of greatest need. We believe we have a responsibility to help address Indigenous disadvantage and dislocation in this country and that we can improve the lives of local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people by offering real long-term training and employment opportunities.”
Whitehaven Coal set a target that within five years of Maules Creek commencing production, 10 per cent of the 400 plus strong workforce would be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islanders decent. This target has already been exceeded, and 15 per cent of the current Maules Creek workforce is Indigenous.
“We have decided to set ourselves this goal, not because we have to, but because it’s the right thing to do, and because we know that self-respect and a secure future very often starts with a skill and a wage. This plan goes beyond providing jobs at Whitehaven, it also seeks to support the wider Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community by working closely with the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre, improving cultural awareness and understanding and by finding better ways to engage with local Aboriginal women.
“It’s great to see so many members of our community come out and support the launch of our Reconciliation Action Plan. Particularly, I would like to thank Justin Mohamed from Reconciliation Australia, The Hon Barnaby Joyce, Member for New England and Haylene Grogan from Aboriginal Affairs NSW for supporting this important initiative,” Mr Flynn said.
Whitehaven Coal’s Reconcilation Action Plan can be downloaded at the link below:
A Reconciliation Action Plan, or RAP, is a business plan developed by an organisation to document what they will do to contribute to reconciliation in Australia. A RAP outlines practical actions that an organisations can undertake to build stronger relationships with and enhance respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. As Reconciliation Australia puts it “the RAP program is about working with organisations across Australia to turn their good intentions into real actions.”
Whitehaven’s RAP has been developed in consultation with Reconciliation Australia. It is an ‘Innovate RAP’ which means its focus is on working with Whitehaven’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander stakeholders to test and trial approaches to building relationships, showing respect and improving opportunities. Specific details about Whitehaven’s RAP will be provided on the day, and include:
- A target of 10% Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment at Maules Creek. This figure is already above 15%.
- Continued support for the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre.
- Further engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
- Increasing cultural awareness and understanding both within Whitehaven and externally.