Reconciliation Action Plan launched in WA energy sector

saps, reconciliation action plan
Horizon Power Board Member Gail Reynolds-Adamson, with the WA Minister for Energy Bill Johnston and Horizon Power Chief Executive Officer Stephanie Unwin with one of the recent SPS units installed east of Esperance

The WA Government, through Horizon Power, hopes to build strong and respectful relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with the launch of the Innovate Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) 2020-22.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston launched the RAP today in the East Kimberley community of Warmun, which was developed by a 40 per cent Aboriginal representation working group.

Under the RAP, Horizon Power will build on previous reconciliation activities and:

  • introduce a comprehensive cultural education program for all employees;
  • provide additional training and procurement opportunities for Aboriginal people and businesses;
  • increase Aboriginal employment at Horizon Power to seven per cent over two years, including new opportunities for graduates, management and traineeships and enhanced workplace mentoring;
  • improve engagement practices through a new engagement strategy; and
  • introduce executive key performance indicators aligning to reconciliation deliverables. 

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Last year Horizon Power installed 150 kilowatts of solar panels at six buildings in Warmun, saving the community more than $72,000 a year off their annual energy costs.

Energy Minister Bill Johnston said by developing Reconciliation Action Plans, WA’s public sector is leading the way in this field and influencing the community in achieving reconciliation with the first peoples of this nation.

“These plans demonstrate our commitment to strengthening our relationships and creating opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Congratulations to Horizon Power on its leadership in this very important area,” Mr Johnston said.

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Aboriginal Affairs Minister Ben Wyatt said, “The Reconciliation Action Plan aligns to the State Government’s Aboriginal Procurement Policy and its themes of Aboriginal advancement, regional development and employment.

“This plan follows the McGowan Government’s commitment to build resilience and capacity of our Aboriginal communities and individuals with economic participation. It’s also great that the action plan has received Reconciliation Australia’s tick of approval,” he said.

Horizon Power currently supplies electricity to 53 remote and town-based Aboriginal communities across its service area, and approximately 15 per cent of its customers identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Similarly, five per cent of its workforce are Aboriginal people and Horizon Power says it has targets to increase this further in the near future.