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Water Corporation increases support for WA Aboriginal suppliers

Water Corporation’s renewed commitment to bolstering opportunities for Aboriginal companies is delivering results, with the value of contracts awarded to Aboriginal suppliers by the utility increasing 191% in 2020-21.

In the past financial year, $14.1 million of contracts above $50,000 were awarded to WA Aboriginal suppliers — increasing by $9.3 million from the previous financial year – including Water Corporation’s largest single contract awarded to an Aboriginal firm.

In the same period, Aboriginal suppliers registered with the utility increased by 15% to 196.

The achievement follows Water Corporation's recommitment to the second term of the WA Government's Aboriginal Procurement Policy, following the original pledge to increase opportunities for Aboriginal suppliers under its Reconciliation Action Plan.

The new policy aims to close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians and increase the number of WA Government agency contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses to 4% by 2023-24.

WA Water Minister Dave Kelly commended Water Corporation for its ongoing proactive engagement with Aboriginal suppliers, which is creating more opportunities for them to grow and employ more people.

"Each year, Water Corporation purchases millions of dollars of goods and services,” Kelly said.

"By complying with the Aboriginal Procurement Policy, it seeks to harness that purchasing power to offer real opportunities and achieve real change for WA Aboriginal businesses and the community.

"Since 2018, the policy has made great strides in supporting the development of a strong Aboriginal business sector with more than $379 million of WA Government contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses."

When awarding contracts to meet the Aboriginal Procurement Policy’s targets, Water Corporation ensures that contracts also achieve best value for money and comply with existing procurement legislation, policies and internal obligations.

In November, Water Corporation will host its third biennial Aboriginal supplier event in Perth and project managers will present their capital works program to Aboriginal businesses.

Aboriginal suppliers can now also apply for the WA Government's Aboriginal Business Round to receive up to $50,000 to improve their capability and competitiveness for government contracts, including contract with Water Corporation.