Bunbury utilities provider Aqwest launches Reconciliation Action Plan

Jacinta CantatoreBunbury Herald
Local Aboriginal Elders with Aqwest Board Director and RAP Champion Rhonda Norman, Water Minister Dave Kelly, Bunbury MLA Don Punch, Aqwest CEO Gary Hallsworth, Charmaine Councillor from Wardandi Miya-k Kaadadjiny Aboriginal Corporation and Troy Bennell at the Ngoora Moolinap Water Treatment Plant launch on 9 September 2020.
Camera IconLocal Aboriginal Elders with Aqwest Board Director and RAP Champion Rhonda Norman, Water Minister Dave Kelly, Bunbury MLA Don Punch, Aqwest CEO Gary Hallsworth, Charmaine Councillor from Wardandi Miya-k Kaadadjiny Aboriginal Corporation and Troy Bennell at the Ngoora Moolinap Water Treatment Plant launch on 9 September 2020. Credit: Aqwest - supplied

Bunbury water provider Aqwest has declared its commitment to improving its engagement with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples by releasing its first Reflect Reconciliation Action Plan.

In launching the landmark plan - which has been endorsed by Reconciliation Australia - Water Minister Dave Kelly congratulated the government-owner utility, saying Aqwest was showing leadership in creating meaningful pathways to reconciliation.

“Congratulations to Aqwest, which like all of WA’s public utilities, is showing leadership on the journey to achieving reconciliation and to creating positive outcomes for all Western Australians,” Mr Kelly said.

The core values of the RAP were kept in mind in the company’s recent construction of the Ngoora Moolinap Water Treatment Plant, engaging closely with the local Aboriginal community throughout the process.

“The plant was named in consultation with local Wardandi-Noongar Elders and as part of this process, lost Noongar language was revived with the extraordinary discovery of the Noongar words; ‘Ngoora’ (water standing in a well) and ‘Moolinap’ (swampy place),” Mr Kelly said.

Aqwest began work on the plan in 2019, working since then with the local community to develop a RAP that helps create employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, with a target of three per cent Aboriginal employment by 2023.

Aqwest board member Rhonda Norman chaired the RAP Working Group, adding valuable cultural and personal insight as a Noongar Wilman woman.

“This has been an exciting journey for Aqwest and it is just the start of what we have planned as we work alongside our Aboriginal stakeholders to ensure real change in achieving reconciliation,” Mrs Norman said.

She and the other members of the working group will oversee the implementation of the action plan, which is underpinned by three reconciliation principles: Sharing Custodianship of water, community, land, flora and fauna; Building Connections in the community and culture; and Empowering Community through activities which foster progress towards reconciliation.

Through the RAP, Aqwest will also aim to increase its current workforce’s cultural awareness, as well as support cultural events within the Greater Bunbury community.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails