Fortescue Metals Group Limited (Fortescue) has been recognised for its achievements in Aboriginal Business Development, winning the categories Corporate Member of the Year and Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year at Supply Nation’s Connect 2015 Supplier Diversity Awards Gala Dinner in Sydney.
Fortescue’s Billion Opportunities initiative has awarded nearly 200 contracts and subcontracts worth $1.75 billion to Aboriginal-owned businesses and joint ventures over the past three and half years, and has been largely driven by Community Development Manager Heath Nelson, who was named the Supplier Diversity Advocate of the Year at the prestigious event.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to acknowledge how far some of our Aboriginal businesses have come on this journey with us – it’s about giving a ‘hand-up’ instead of a ‘hand-out’ and to see Aboriginal business owners seizing those opportunities, delivering on their commitments, growing their businesses and employing local Aboriginal people demonstrates how those positive outcomes flow right through to the broader community,” Mr Nelson said.
Fortescue Chief Executive Officer Nev Power said: “The award for Corporate Member of the Year is a reflection of Fortescue’s ongoing commitment to end Aboriginal disparity through opportunity, and a testament to the dedication and hard work of Fortescue’s Aboriginal Engagement team.”
“We are tremendously proud of our achievements and what these awards represent, but most importantly, we are proud of our partnerships with highly capable and competent Aboriginal businesses.”
Mr Power supported the move by the Australian Government earlier this week with the release of the Indigenous Procurement Policy guidelines, committing the Government for the first time to a target of 3 per cent of contracts awarded to Aboriginal businesses by 2020. Mr Power encourages the Government to open the doors of opportunity further by establishing stretch targets to drive Aboriginal employment and business.
“Setting real targets is a crucial step towards achieving significant outcomes for sustainable Aboriginal business development. Our approach at Fortescue is about having stretch targets and the determination to achieve those targets. We equally place a strong emphasis on creating mutually beneficial partnerships both directly with our Aboriginal businesses, and indirectly through our supply chain partners,” he said.
Supply Nation, formerly known as the Australian Indigenous Minority Supplier Council (AIMSC), is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), that seeks to connect Australian corporate and government organisations with Aboriginal business suppliers who are already achieving success or have the potential to develop into vibrant, vital businesses.
The Gala Dinner Award Night concludes the annual two-day Connect 2015 conference and tradeshow event that is attended by corporate and government buyers and Aboriginal business owners.