Fortescue Metals Group (Fortescue) has announced the award of two contracts to the value of A$179 million to Yindjibarndi businesses through the Company’s Billion Opportunities program. This represents the largest contracts awarded to 100 per cent owned Aboriginal businesses in Fortescue’s history.
The announcement brings the total value of contracts awarded by Fortescue to Aboriginal businesses and joint ventures since 2011 to A$2.3 billion.
Fortescue Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines was joined by members of the Wirlu-murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation Board to celebrate and acknowledge the significance of the contract awards.
The first of two separate contracts was awarded to Wirlu-murra Enterprises Pty Ltd, a 100 per cent Aboriginal owned business based in Roebourne, to support the non-process infrastructure operations at Fortescue’s Solomon Hub. Wirlu-murra first delivered these services in 2015 through an unincorporated joint venture with major contractor Thiess. Working within the joint venture, Wirlu-murra built their business capability and capacity to the point where they can manage the contract independently.
The second contract is with the unincorporated joint venture EG WME JV, consisting of Eastern Guruma Pty Ltd and Wirlu-murra, for road maintenance and resource definition services at Solomon. The EG WME JV has been performing these services since 2013 and the new five-year term is as a result of their excellent safety and operational performance.
Ms Gaines said, “Our Billion Opportunities initiative has provided our Native title groups and their members the chance to build sustainable futures for their communities through the provision of genuine economic opportunity.
“Fortescue is in the privileged position of being able to empower these businesses with the capability and capacity to effect positive change in Aboriginal communities across the Pilbara.
“We are delighted to see Aboriginal businesses we have partnered with for some time grow and prosper. These contracts establish Wirlu-murra as one of the largest Aboriginal businesses in Australia and, significantly, empowers them to deliver further employment opportunities for Aboriginal people,” Ms Gaines said.
Wirlu-murra Yindjibarndi Aboriginal Corporation Chairperson Rodney Adams said, “Through these business contracts with Fortescue, Wirlu-murra has been able to provide jobs to the Yindjibarndi people and support many local community organisations providing services to the Roebourne community. We look forward to continuing our close relationship with Fortescue to provide new opportunities to empower our people.”
The Forrest Review ‘Creating Parity’, recommended a National Indigenous Procurement Initiative based on Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities program. The Indigenous Procurement Policy (IPP), launched in 2015, has since delivered over A$1 billion in Commonwealth Government contracts.
The West Australian State Government introduced the Aboriginal Procurement Policy in 2018, with progressive engagement targets.
“We are proud to see our Billion Opportunities program inspiring others to implement Indigenous procurement strategies to provide opportunities to thousands of Aboriginal businesses across the country,” Ms Gaines said.