A new agreement for Western Sydney Airport aims to drive Aboriginal engagement opportunities in business, education and employment, and help shape the airport’s scope and operation.
Aboriginal firm Enable has been selected as the provider of the Western Sydney Airport Aboriginal Engagement Plan. Enable is headed by former Sydney Swans footballer, Michael O’Loughlin.
Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population, Alan Tudge, said the plan marks the first of its kind for a major Federal Government infrastructure project.
“Michael O’Loughlin and his team will ensure that Aboriginal people get maximum opportunities out of the massive investment in Western Sydney,” he said.
“The new airport will generate tens of thousands of jobs and we want Aboriginal people to be part of it.”
Greater Western Sydney has the highest concentration of Aboriginal people of any single region in Australia.
According to the 2016 Census, of the more than 1,024,000 people living in the council areas that form the Western Parkland City, approximately 26,000 identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander.
The Western Sydney Airport is set to be one of the most significant aviation projects in Australia’s history.
As part of its employment targets, Indigenous workers will make up at least 2.4 per cent of the total workforce on the construction of the airport.
A minimum of three per cent of all contracts during the construction of the airport will be with Indigenous firms.
Minister for Finance, Mathias Cormann, said Enable will be tasked with coordinating Aboriginal engagement across the business and the community, from cultural heritage to employment, education and training.
“The Aboriginal Engagement Plan will ensure local Indigenous communities are involved and supported through this significant project.
“It will be an important part of the overall plan for the airport and surrounding Western Sydney Parkland delivering hundreds of thousands of jobs and business opportunities to all Western Sydney residents,” he said.
Enable Managing Director, Michael O’Loughlin, said the company was focused on delivering meaningful engagement with Indigenous Australians, including developing and implementing a Reconciliation Action Plan.
“Western Sydney Airport has embarked on an ambitious plan and we are excited to be part of the journey,” Mr O’Loughlin said.
“By developing a broad-reaching, highly-inclusive Aboriginal Engagement Plan, Western Sydney Airport will raise the bar on all future engagements of this type, setting the standard for how Aboriginal Australians are engaged.
“We will work with local Aboriginal communities and stakeholders to inform the Engagement Plan and the local Darug people will obviously play a big part in our program as well as other Aboriginal stakeholders, local communities and our partners at Western Sydney Airport.”
The government hopes that Western Sydney Airport’s partnership with Enable and its commitment to continuing Indigenous participation in the project will deepen Aboriginal engagement.