Horizon Power launched its newly formed Aboriginal Community Advisory Council at a networking function in Perth on Tuesday which was attended by the Minister for Energy; Indigenous Affairs, Peter Collier.
The function introduced the Aboriginal Community Advisory Council (ACAC) to representatives from organisations across the State involved in Aboriginal engagement and to acknowledge Horizon Power’s success in exceeding its Aboriginal employment target of six per cent of the workforce for 2011/12.
Horizon Power's Managing Director Elect Frank Tudor has established ACAC to help better understand the energy supply and service needs of Aboriginal customers who represent up to 40 per cent of their customer base. The Council will advise Mr Tudor and Horizon Power's executive team on the energy needs and priorities of Aboriginal communities and residents throughout Horizon Power’s service area.
Guests at the event included the Hon. Peter Collier MLC and representatives from organisations including Water Corporation, the Department of Training and Workforce Development, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Infrastructure Australia, and Carey Power. Representatives of organisations in the education sector also attended.
The Chair of the Aboriginal Community Advisory Council, Peter Yu spoke to guests about Horizon Power’s commitment to improving service delivery to Aboriginal customers.
"Horizon Power now has clear targets in place to help increase the participation of Aboriginal people in Horizon Power employment, training and contracting opportunities to ensure Horizon Power is better positioned to deliver culturally-appropriate and fit-for-purpose energy solutions," he said.
Mr Tudor said the utility had organised the event to introduce the ACAC members to stakeholders from across Western Australia and to strengthen relationships with organisations with a similar focus on ‘closing the gap’ in life expectancy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians.
"As an organisation that operates in regional and remote areas of Western Australia where a significant percentage of residents are Aboriginal Australians, there is no doubt that Aboriginal engagement has already been a heavy focus of engagement activities we have undertaken in the six years since our organisation was formed.
"By formalising our commitment through the Aboriginal Employment and Engagement Strategy, the introduction of ACAC, and through events like these, we are confident we can further improve our service delivery and build an enhanced skills base, greater cultural diversity within Horizon Power and strengthened relationships with Aboriginal communities," he said.
Minister Collier praised Horizon Power’s approach to Aboriginal engagement which he said was already delivering with the Aboriginal employment target for 2011/12 exceeded through the employment of twelve Field Service Officers employed to undertake meter reading services.
"It is essential that organisations work together and share experiences if programs to deliver on this commitment are to be successful,” he said.
"This event provided an excellent opportunity for all who attended to think about how our respective organisations can collaborate to improve service delivery to Aboriginal communities."