Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia, 16–18 November 2021 2021

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Patrick Hill

President, Shire of Laverton

Patrick Hill

Sealing the Outback Way : investing in Social Capital

The Outback Way is recognised as a National Project Initiative on the 2021 Infrastructure Australia- Priority List,

The Outback Way sealing project is a pilot project by the WA government to develop local indigenous training and have engaged with the Wongutha Way Alliance.

The Outback Way project is being delivered by the trainees from the Wongutha Way Alliance (WWA), this is an Alliance between Main Roads, Carey Mining and Central Earthmoving Company. This initiative is also supported by Australian Potash.

’Wongutha’ means the broad group of local Aboriginal people that reside in the area), the objective is to maximise Aboriginal employment and business opportunities to help benefit local communities.

The Wongutha Way Alliance has been preparing for this project since 2019, with the recruitment of local Aboriginal people into structured training programs. These programs included theory and practical ‘hands-on’ training modules, which were carried out in the Laverton Community Hall, Carey’s Laverton yard and nearby sites.

In May 2021, 50 km was sealed east of Laverton by the work crew trained by Wongutha Way Alliance.

WWA is committed to ensuring that Aboriginal Participation opportunities, both in terms of Employment of Aboriginal Persons and Procurement from Aboriginal Businesses, are created through the this project.

The WWA is ensuring the employment for local indigenous people who can now stay in the lands and also as more trainees come through the Alliance the work crews will expand and enable the sealing of the Outback Way to be expedited. The Outback Way project is offering on the job training - a future of employment until completion in 2028 and then due to the sealed road - the future work opportunities of new and existing mining developments will be on offer. A lifetime of employment is ahead of the WWA trainees.

We will also discuss the benefits for sealing the Outback Way focusing on how liveability is enhanced in these isolated and remote areas from enhancing empowerment with decision making and choices, to improved service delivery and continuity and economic opportunities for many remote and rural communities along the Outback Way.