Whitehaven launch second Reconciliation Action Plan

Whitehaven Coal have launched its second Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) at the Winanga-Li Aboriginal Child and Family Centre in Narrabri, North West NSW.

Karen Mundine, CEO of Reconciliation Australia, Steven Gal, Director of Regional Co-ordination at Aboriginal Affairs NSW and local Gomeroi leaders participated in a ceremony, which included a performance from the Winanga-Li children.

Whitehaven CEO and Managing Director, Paul Flynn, said the launch of the company’s new ‘Stretch’ RAP outlined the company’s next steps to achieving meaningful outcomes for local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in North West NSW.

“I’m pleased to be in Narrabri today to formally launch our second RAP. Our new RAP builds on the solid progress and publicly formalises our commitment to working with the local community and Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander people.

“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 over and above what we have already accomplished.

“These opportunities go beyond direct employment. We’re seeking out opportunities in health, education and training, to cultural awareness and understanding, economic development and potential partnerships.

“When we started Maules Creek in 2013 our aim was ensuring that within five years 10 per cent of the Maules Creek workforce would be of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander descent.  I’m proud that we have exceeded that target every year since then.

“We now employ more than 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at our Maules Creek mine while 11 per cent of our entire workforce is Indigenous, reflecting the local population as a whole. These jobs have contributed $12 million in annual salaries to our Indigenous workforce, which are flowing back into local households, families and businesses.

“All these achievements may never have occurred if Whitehaven did not have a RAP – a plan that pushes us every day to do better and to listen more.

“That being said, we know there is always more to do. Our new ‘Stretch’ RAP outlines our next steps to make sure we can continue to make a meaningful and long lasting difference to our community.

“We take great pride in our long-standing links with the local community, but we know it is critically important that we continue to work hard to keep and grow that respect,” Mr Flynn said.

Whitehaven’s 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.

Pictured at the launch of the RAP (from left to right) are Bob Sutherland, Whitehaven’s Aboriginal Community Relations Officer, Karen Mundine, CEO Reconciliation Australia, Steven Gal, Director, Regional Co-ordination, Aboriginal Affairs NSW, and Paul Flynn, Whitehaven Coal CEO and Managing Director.

A copy of the new Reconciliation Action Plan can be downloaded here: Reconciliation Action Plan

A factsheet on Whitehaven’s Aboriginal Relations work can be found here: Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) fact sheet