Aboriginal Engagement

In 2015, we began executing on the objectives set out in our first Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP). Our RAP operates across all areas of the business and contains practical and meaningful objectives to address issues affecting local AborigInal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Since launching the inaugural RAP in September 2015, we have achieved the following:

  • More than 70 Indigenous people employed at our Maules Creek mine.
  • Around 11% employees self-identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people
  • We estimate that approximately $12m in annual salaries are flowing through our Indigenous workforce back into local communities
  • Pleasingly, our Indigenous employment program at Maules Creek was recognised by the NSW Minerals Council as ‘best in class’ within the industry and was included as a case study in the Prime Ministers Closing the Gap report for 2017

Whitehaven’s approach goes beyond direct employment. We support programs that facilitate access to education from kindergarten through to university and mature age.

These include:

  • The Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre in Gunnedah, which was the first of nine Aboriginal Child and Family Centres to open its doors in NSW
  • Our partnership with the Girls Academy, which will assist Gunnedah High School participants on a pathway to tertiary education and/or securing long term employment

Our commitment to assisting new and developing local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses continues to progress and moving forward we are working with our major contracting companies and suppliers to encourage support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employment and business development within their spheres of influence.

Whitehaven’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business procurement commitment was highlighted in case studies for the NSW Minerals Council, Aboriginal Affairs NSW (OCHRE Report), and the NSW Small Business Commission. Whitehaven continues to be represented on the NSW Industry Based Agreement for the Minerals Industry to actively promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander business development. Whitehaven also participates in a Minerals Council Indigenous Realtions Working Group.

Whitehaven’s current RAP can be found here. To continue progress, Whitehaven Coal will publish its next RAP document later this year, moving from an ‘Innovate’ to a ‘Stretch’ RAP.


NAIDOC Week celebrations are held across Australia each July to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

As per our Reconciliation Action Plan, each year Whitehaven Coal holds an on-site BBQ at an operating site with guest speaker/s from the local Aboriginal community to celebrate NAIDOC Week. Over the past two years onsite BBQs have been hosted at Narrabri (pictured) and Tarrawonga.