Fortescue hits $1 billion Indigenous supplier target

Fortescue Metals Group has achieved its goal of securing $1 billion in supplier contracts to Aboriginal businesses

Fortescue hits $1 billion Indigenous supplier target
Fortescue hits $1 billion Indigenous supplier contracts

August 6, 2013

Fortescue Metals Group today announced it has achieved its target of securing $1 billion in supplier contracts to Aboriginal businesses by the end of 2013.

The Western Australia-based iron or producer says the $1 billion mark was exceeded following the award of contracts worth approximately $500 million to six Aboriginal joint ventures owned by Native Title Groups.

The Indigenous businesses will provide a range of services at the company’s accommodation villages in the Pilbara.

Fortescue set the goal of awarding $1 billion in supplier contracts to Aboriginal businesses in December last year.

Since then, the company
has awarded 102 contracts and subcontracts to more than 50 Aboriginal businesses as part of its "Billion Opportunities" initiative.

To be included, a business has to be at least 25 percent owned by an Aboriginal person or group.

Of the contracts awarded, more than 80 percent are Aboriginal businesses at least 50 percent Aboriginal-owned.

Fortescue CEO Nev Power says he’s extremely proud of the success of Billion Opportunities six months ahead of the target.

"I hope these contracts are just the first of many that these Aboriginal businesses secure and they each go on to become large, successful businesses providing jobs and opportunities to their communities and all of Australia for a long time to come," Power says.

"By taking this opportunity, Aboriginal business people are setting a fabulous example for their children and their communities.

"They are showing there is a future that is independent and sustainable and that they can succeed without welfare and without handouts," he says.

Power adds Fortescue’s commitment to Aboriginal people extends to training and employment.

"The relationship that we have with each of our traditional owner groups is a very important
part of our business," Power says.

"We take it very seriously and we respect our traditional owner groups and the need for them to have the same opportunities that every Australian enjoys.

"It is our strong belief that the best way for Aboriginal communities to lift their standard of living is through developing capability through business ventures like this."

Nyiyaparli person Brian Tucker
says winning a supplier contract as part of a joint venture with Morris Corporation is the biggest thing that has happened to his people since mining started in the Pilbara.

"There’s been a lot of frustration on our part trying to get to this point," Tucker says.

"We struggled and we felt that no one believed in us. But we kept knocking on doors and now Fortescue has given us this opportunity, [so] we want to take it and do the best job we can."

Tucker says his people want this contract to be the first of many.

"We want to have a future where we decide what’s best for our people," he says.

"We want to provide sustainable jobs to our people in our country and hopefully this will change communities, people’s lifestyles and the environment."

At the end of June 30, Fortescue Metals directly employed 461 Aboriginal people representing 12 per cent of the workforce.

An additional 504 Aboriginal people were employed by its contracting partners.

Pictured: (left to right) Chris Quartermaine, Eastern Guruma Pty Ltd; Jake Oreo, NRW Holdings; Joe McCarron, Fortescue Metals and Colleen Jones, NRW

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