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Water Corporation has recommitted to the Western Australian Government’s Aboriginal Procurement Policy – meeting progressive targets up to three per cent. It has also increased employment opportunities for Aboriginal companies, with the value of awarded contracts to Aboriginal businesses almost tripling in the past financial year.

Western Australian Water Minister, Dave Kelly said, “the tripling in value of contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses by Water Corporation is testament to the McGowan Government’s landmark Aboriginal Procurement Policy.

“Since 2018, the policy has made great strides in supporting the development of a strong Aboriginal business sector with more than $379 million of WA Government contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses.”

In 2020-21, $14.1 million of Water Corporation contracts above $50,000 were awarded to WA Aboriginal suppliers, up from $4.8 million the previous financial year – including its largest single contract (more than $4.5 million) awarded to an Aboriginal firm.

In the same period, Aboriginal suppliers registered with the State Government-owned utility rose 15 per cent to 196.

“Each year, Water Corporation purchases millions of dollars of goods and services,” Mr Kelly said.

“By complying with the Aboriginal Procurement Policy, it seeks to harness that purchasing power to offer real opportunities and achieve real change for WA Aboriginal businesses and the community.”

The achievements follows Water Corporation’s recommitment to the second term of the Aboriginal Procurement Policy – meeting progressive targets up to three per cent, following its original pledge as part of the Corporation’s Reconciliation Action Plan.

The new policy aims to address inequity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians and increase the number of WA Government agency contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses to four per cent by 2023-24.

When awarding contracts to meet the policy’s targets, Water Corporation ensures that contracts comply with existing procurement legislation, policies and internal obligations.

In November 2021, Water Corporation will host its third biennial Aboriginal supplier event in Perth and project managers will present their capital works program to Aboriginal businesses.

Broome-based Kimberley Civil and Drainage will use the opportunity to tender for new contracts after being awarded several Water Corporation projects in 2020-21, including a new 1.4km pipeline in York and essential wastewater network upgrades in Derby and Manjimup.

Wilco Electrical upgraded critical water infrastructure in Balingup and installed solar energy systems, with Water Corporation contracts helping provide Aboriginal apprentice opportunities for the Kardinya firm.

Aboriginal suppliers can also apply for the WA Government’s Aboriginal Business Round – one of three new Local Capability Fund rounds worth $2 million – to receive up to $50,000 to improve their capability and competitiveness for State Government contracts, including Water Corporation.

“I commend Water Corporation for its ongoing proactive engagement with Aboriginal suppliers, creating more opportunities for them to grow and employ more people,” Mr Kelly said.

For information on becoming an Aboriginal supplier to Water Corporation, please contact its Aboriginal Contractor Engagement team at: [email protected]

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