Victorian government funds Indigenous groups $1.1 million to determine communities’ renewable projects

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Victoria’s Minister for Aboriginal Affairs Gabrielle Williams today announced eight recipients will receive a share of the allocated $1.1 million in funding from the Traditional Owner Renewable Energy Program (TOREP). The state government says the program and funding is to support “Traditional Owners’ self-determination by putting renewable energy projects directly in the hands of Aboriginal community groups across Victoria”.

The successful recipients are:

  • Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation
  • Barengi Gadjin Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
  • Wurundjeri Land & Compensation Cultural Heritage Council Aboriginal Corporation
  • First People of Millewa-Mallee Aboriginal Corporation
  • Yorta Yorta Nation Aboriginal Corporation
  • Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation
  • Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation
  • Gunditj Mirring Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation

Each of the Traditional Owner Corporations could be awarded up to $100,000 under the program, though specifically how much each group received hasn’t been made public.

The Victorian government noted in its statement that numerous Traditional Owner Corporations have already developed renewable energy plans by installing solar panels, developing feasibility studies and undertaking businesses cases for future community-owned renewable energy generation to be delivered during 2021-2022.

The program through which the funding was allocated is aimed at supporting Indigenous participation and adoption of new energy technologies, boosting skills and helping fuel a clean energy driven economic recovery.

“The government acknowledges the right to self-determination and recognises that only when Aboriginal people are central to the decision-making processes that affect their lives, will sustained and long-term changes in wellbeing and the health of Country be achieved,” the Victorian government’s statement read.

“This will see local Traditional Owner groups benefiting directly from Victoria’s boom in renewable energy,” Member for Northern Victoria, Mark Gepp, added.

Fortescue Metals Group’s $350 million contract

Fortescue Metals Group today also announced it had awarded the single largest contract under its Billion Opportunities program to a West Australian majority-owned Indigenous business, Warrikal Pty Ltd.

Following a competitive tender process, Warrikal was awarded a five-year $350 million contract as one of the providers of maintenance and shutdown services across Fortescue’s Pilbara operations.

Founded by Koori businesswoman Amanda Healy and her business partners Roy Messer and David Flett, Warrikal was established in 2017 to provide innovative engineering solutions across the mining, marine and resource sectors. It has been providing mechanical maintenance, shutdown and project services across Fortescue’s sites over the past three years.

“We look forward to further developing our relationship over coming years, continuing to grow our operational footprint in the North West of Western Australia and strengthening our long-term commitment to the region and the communities in which we operate,” Warrikal’s Chief Executive Officer, Amanda Healy, said.

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