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WA State govt procurement lauded as regional shire calls for similar policy

Tom Zaunmayr -

The City of Greater Geraldton has called for local government Indigenous procurement rules to be brought up to the standards held by State Government.

Speaking at the Mid West Aboriginal Business Forum in Geraldton on Thursday, CGG deputy mayor Jerry Clune lauded the City's Indigenous workers who he said had fast become respected faces in the community.

Mr Clune said the City had made a submission to the State Government to bring local government procurement laws in line with State policy.

"We would love to have a crack at what you do too," he said.

The State's Indigenous procurement policy set out in 2018 and updated in late 2021 ensures suppliers on government projects meet a five per cent Aboriginal employment target in the Mid West.

It has led to some 692 contracts being awarded to Indigenous businesses, some 92 of which have been based in the Mid West.

Among those to benefit is Oaks Civil Construction managing director Jarrad Oakley-Nicholls, who set up his business on the cusp of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

"The relationship I have had with Main Roads since inception has been outstanding and I take my hat off to the work Main Roads has done to ensure procurement policies are upheld," he said.

"We have really thrived in the opportunity of getting contracts throughout the pandemic.

"To (Main Roads) credit they really dug deep and ensured businesses like myself got an opportunity had the chance to grow from 22 staff to 130 staff."

State Aboriginal Affairs Minister Tony Buti said he was open to boosting local government procurement policy.

"It is always better if it comes from the people who are actually putting it in place," he said.

"But I am more than happy to commence dialogue with the local government authorities in trying to set a target for them as well."

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