Melbourne Water, Aqua Metro Services and Wara Paring Civil Construction is the Industry Leader award winner in the Premier's Sustainability Awards 2021 – Social and economic justice category.
Wara Paring Indigenous Civil Construction Project aimed to co-create a 100 per cent Indigenous-owned civil construction business, with the capacity to deliver services to the water sector.
Melbourne Water identified a gap in the market, with no Aboriginal businesses providing any of the services used in delivering capital work.
Melbourne Water and Aqua Metro Services were committed to supporting a sustainable pipeline of young Aboriginal workers. Rather than determining that no existing Aboriginal-owned businesses could supply these services, Melbourne Water and Aqua Metro Services held workshops with leaders and subject matter experts, to develop a Diversity and Inclusion Management Plan and create a pathway and training scaffold.
The 18-month full-time training initiative included a range of training and development opportunities, in a work environment that was culturally safe and supportive.
This initiative allows Aboriginal people to stay in Country and work with due care for Country, which is of significant responsibility and cultural importance. In April 2021, ‘Wara Paring’ transitioned from a co-designed project to ‘Wara Paring Civil Construction Pty Ltd’, an independent 100 per cent fully owned and operated Aboriginal business.