Aboriginal employment plan earns state commendation

April 12, 2022 BY

Barwon Water’s Melissa Stephens, David McKinnis, and Leoni Foley, and Ricky Kildea from Wan-Yaari Aboriginal Consultancy, pictured with the award on the night. Photo: SUPPLIED

BARWON Water has earned statewide recognition for its employment program for Indigenous people.

The regional water authority’s Aboriginal Employment and Retention Strategy won the Victorian Organisational Excellence Award from the Australian Water Association at an awards night last week, meaning it is now eligible for a national award.

The strategy forms part of Barwon Water’s Reconciliation Action Plan and the organisation said it aims to understand and embed First Nations cultural values and holistic wellbeing of Indigenous people.

The program included a 12-month traineeship developed alongside Wan-Yaari Aboriginal Consultancy Services and Gforce Employment Solutions, and an in-depth Connection to Country program for all employees which highlights cultural heritage education, including visits to significant local sites.

Barwon Water managing director Tracey Slatter said the organisation was proud to receive the state acknowledgement.

“We aim to attract increasing numbers of First Nations employees into career pathways that are diverse and inclusive, provide culturally appropriate support and empower First Nations staff to progress and succeed professionally,” Ms Slatter said.

“This strategy holds us accountable for developing meaningful connections and employment opportunities with First Nations peoples in our region, to enable their knowledge, understanding and water values, to form an integral part of our water management and planning programs.”