Fortescue Metals Group has signed contracts with two Western Australian Aboriginal businesses totalling $6 million as part of the company’s Billion Opportunities program.
Kooya Australia Fleet Solutions was awarded a three-year contract for vehicle supply across Fortescue’s sites, while Thuroona Services was awarded a contract for maintenance work on Fortescue rail operations.
“We are proud of our positive approach to engagement with Aboriginal people and providing access to training, employment and business opportunities,” said Fortescue chief financial officer Ian Wells.
“By partnering with Aboriginal businesses to build their capability and capacity, we are opening the doors to future work with other organisations which is fundamental to their economic sustainability and prosperity.”
Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities program has seen 270 contracts awarded to 110 Aboriginal-owned businesses and joint ventures since 2011. The company passed the $2 billion milestone for the program in February this year.
In March, Fortescue then signed a landmark agreement with Perth-based Australian Aboriginal Mining Corp (AAMC) for iron ore delivery from the latter’s Wonmunna project, representing the final step in AAMC’s goal to become Australia’s first Aboriginal-owned iron ore business.
Thuroona director Terry Riley commented on the rail deal with Fortescue, stating that it helped to bridge the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians “by directly creating Indigenous jobs and helping to financially support that training and employment of Indigenous trainees, staff and contracts”.
Kooya’s owner and principal executive officer Kim Collard, an Indigenous Australian of the Nyoongar nation, said that he looked forward to the partnership.
“This contract is an investment in the future of our business and with the ongoing guidance and mentoring from Fortescue, we look forward to being able provide more opportunities to Aboriginal people through employment and training,” he said.