Coalition sets new standard for Aboriginal engagement at Western Sydney Airport

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A ground-breaking agreement for Western Sydney Airport will drive Aboriginal engagement opportunities in business, education and employment and help shape the airport's scope and operation, under a plan revealed by the Morrison Government today.

The Western Sydney Airport Aboriginal Engagement Plan is the first of its kind for a major Australian Government infrastructure project.

Stemming from one of the most significant aviation projects in Australia's history—Aboriginal firm Enable has been announced as the provider of the Western Sydney Airport Aboriginal Engagement Plan.

Enable is headed by AFL legend, former Sydney Swan star Michael O'Loughlin.

Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said Western Sydney Airport was setting a new standard for engagement with Aboriginal communities.

“Michael O'Loughlin and his team will ensure that Aboriginal people get maximum opportunities out of the massive investment in Western Sydney,” he said.

The new airport will generate tens of thousands of jobs and we want Aboriginal people to be part of it,”

As part of Western Sydney Airport's employment targets, Indigenous workers will make up at least 2.4 per cent of the total workforce on the construction of the airport.

A minimum of 3 per cent of all contracts during the construction of the airport will be with Indigenous firms.

Minister for Finance Mathias Cormann said Enable will be tasked with coordinating Aboriginal engagement across the business and the community, from cultural heritage to employment, education and training.

“The Aboriginal Engagement Plan will ensure local Indigenous communities are involved and supported through this significant project.

“It will be an important part of the overall plan for the airport and surrounding Western Sydney Parkland delivering hundreds of thousands of jobs and business opportunities to all Western Sydney residents,” he said.

Enable managing director, Michael O'Loughlin, said the company was focused on delivering meaningful engagement with Indigenous Australians, including developing and implementing a Reconciliation Action Plan.

“Western Sydney Airport has embarked on an ambitious plan and we are excited to be part of the journey,” Mr O'Loughlin said.

“By developing a broad-reaching, highly-inclusive Aboriginal Engagement Plan, Western Sydney Airport will raise the bar on all future engagements of this type, setting the standard for how Aboriginal Australians are engaged.

“We will work with local Aboriginal communities and stakeholders to inform the Engagement Plan and the local Darug people will obviously play a big part in our program as well as other Aboriginal stakeholders, local communities and our partners at Western Sydney Airport.”

Western Sydney Airport's partnership with Enable and its commitment to continuing Indigenous participation in the project will build on existing relationships and deepen Aboriginal engagement.