• 191 per cent increase in value of Water Corporation contracts awarded to Aboriginal suppliers in 2020-21
  • Proactive engagement policy delivers 15 per cent increase in number of Aboriginal suppliers
  • Water Corporation recommits to McGowan Government's Aboriginal Procurement Policy, meeting progressive targets up to 3 per cent

Water Corporation has restated its commitment to increasing employment and training opportunities for Aboriginal companies, with Water Minister Dave Kelly today announcing the value of its contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses had almost tripled in the past financial year.

In 2020-21, $14.1 million of 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.

The achievement follows Water Corporation's recommitment to the second term of the McGowan Government's 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 also achieve best value for money and comply with existing procurement legislation, policies and internal obligations.

In November, 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.

Upgrading critical water infrastructure in Balingup and installation of solar energy systems were completed by Wilco Electrical with the Water Corporation contracts helping provide Aboriginal apprentice opportunities for the Kardinya firm.

Aboriginal suppliers can now also apply for the McGowan 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.

For information on becoming an Aboriginal supplier to Water Corporation, please contact its Aboriginal Contractor Engagement team at: aboriginalsuppliers@watercorporation.com.au

For more information, visit: http://www.watercorporation.com.au/About-us/Suppliers-and-contractors/HSE-and-Aboriginal-affairs/Aboriginal-suppliers

Comments attributed to Water Minister Dave Kelly:

"Each year, Water Corporation purchases millions of dollars of goods and services.

"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.

"I commend Water Corporation for its ongoing proactive engagement with Aboriginal suppliers, creating more opportunities for them to grow and employ more people.

"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."

Minister's office - 6552 6100