8 June 2022

Across our Australian operations and locations, we recognise and celebrate National Reconciliation Week (NRW). This is an important time for all Australians to learn about our shared histories, cultures and achievements, as well as exploring how each of us can contribute to achieving reconciliation in Australia.

Every year, South32 is proud to participate in NRW as a demonstration of our commitment to building strong and respectful relationships with our Indigenous and Tribal communities, wherever we operate. 

NRW begins each year on 27 May, and this year’s theme, ‘Be Brave. Make Change’, reminded us that we must take brave actions each day to make a real impact on reconciliation. At South32, our vision for reconciliation is for an Australia that embraces the histories and cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and that, as a nation, we work collectively toward supporting all Australians. 

From cultural dance performances and spear-making workshops at GEMCO to raising funds to support Indigenous literacy programs at Cannington, we hosted a range of events and activities.

GEMCO

To kick-start the week, GEMCO hosted a football game for the local community which included a spear throwing competition as the half time entertainment. 

A specifically created (and delicious) Indigenous inspired menu was served throughout the week for our people to enjoy, and a Welcome to Country with traditional dancers and music was performed one night in the dining area. 

GEMCO also held damper cooking classes, spear-making workshops and night markets for the local community, giving Indigenous stall holders the opportunity to showcase their talents. 

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Illawarra Metallurgical Coal (IMC)

At IMC we handed out NRW cookies to our people to encourage conversations across the operation about how we can all contribute to making real change. The cookies were purchased from a locally owned and operated Indigenous business, Kallico Catering. 

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Cannington

A video was shared across Cannington that featured some of our people and the Mitakoodi People (the Traditional Owners of Cannington) discussing what NRW means to them. Our Superintendents and Supervisors were encouraged to share the video in their meetings throughout the week to start conversations on how we can all be brave and make change on our reconciliation journey.  

Cannington also raffled off three Indigenous Round National Rugby League jerseys to raise funds that will be used to support local Indigenous literacy programs. The raffle raised more than $1,500 which South32 will match via our Good to Give program. 

Worsley Alumina

To mark the start of NRW, Worsley welcomed Les Wallam, Wilman Traditional Owner and Stephen Michael, proud Wadjuk Noongar man and Australian Football League Hall of Fame legend to the Refinery for a morning tea. Les shared a Welcome to Country while Stephen shared a presentation on what reconciliation means to him.

The NRW theme was screen printed onto one of the rolling rail carriages which travels six times a day from the Refinery to the Port through local towns of Bunbury, Australind, Burekup and Roelands. The artwork will remain on the carriage for the rest of the year, encouraging the local community to take brave actions every day. 

We also partnered with the Shire of Boddington and Boddington Community Resource Centre for the Reconciliation Western Australia Virtual Breakfast broadcast.

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(Left to right: Les Wallam, Wilman Traditional Owner and Stephen Michael, proud Wadjuk Noongar man)

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(Artwork on one of our rail carriages)

Perth Head Office

We hosted a screening event in the foyer of our Perth head office, where a selection of inspiring short documentaries and films on Indigenous history, culture and achievements was shown over three days.

Australia-wide

During the week our Chief Operating Officer, Jason Economidis, hosted a National Reconciliation Week virtual panel discussion for our people at sites across Australia.

Jason and panellists talked about South32’s reconciliation journey and how taking brave actions each day can make a difference. Joining Jason was proud Wiradjuri woman Courtney Rawson, Local Sourcing Specialist from our Illawarra Metallurgical Coal operation, Ethan Busbridge, participant of our Anindilyakwa Future Leaders Program and Operator RMS at our GEMCO operation, and Rachel Boutet, General Manager at R&N Contracting, an Indigenous owned and operated business and South32 supplier.  

You can learn more about our commitment to reconciliation in our Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan