Leading positive change in Indigenous engagement

Laing O'Rourke
3 min read

We launched our first Reconciliation Action Plan in 2011, and in the first year of delivery, FY2012, we spent a total of $1.8m with twelve Indigenous businesses. Since then we have been on a journey that has seen us continue to learn from the Indigenous communities we have engaged across the country.

Reconciliation refers to the mending of a damaged relationship. In the context of Australian history, it’s the process of creating a just society that honours and respects the Indigenous population. By nurturing these relationships and working towards a fairer society, the hope is to create a better and more unified Australia for everyone.

Through our collaboration with Indigenous Peoples, businesses, clients, and communities we have been able to grow as a business that genuinely supports and advocates for reconciliation across the country.

Our increased engagement has resulted in us utilising more Indigenous businesses, employing more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and importantly, fostering an inclusive culturally safe environment that ensures everyone who joins our business feels a sense of belonging and inclusion.

In the twelve months to the end of our financial year March 31, 2023, we had engaged 141 Indigenous businesses in the supply chain, with a spend of nearly $70 million - that’s is a 22% increase from the previous year.

These outcomes are the result of a long-term focus on developing and strengthening our relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, and a strong Indigenous Affairs strategy ensuring our teams have the tools they need to engage in meaningful reconciliation activities that support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

We are proud of our history here in Australia, and our involvement in projects like Sydney’s Central Station Metro, Australia – Singapore Military Training Initiative (ASMTI), and the Larrakeyah Barracks Redevelopment project gives us a unique opportunity to foster strong relationships with and provide employment, training and contracting opportunities to local Indigenous Peoples, businesses and communities. On our journey to transform ourselves and our industry, we are using the power of our experience to give small business owners the opportunity to learn and acquire new ideas, skills and tools to take their business to the next level.

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“When I reflect on the positive change that is occurring across the business, it fills me with pride. There is a genuine desire at Laing O’Rourke for our projects and our people to do more, learn more and engage more with Indigenous Peoples, businesses and communities. We honestly don’t say it loud enough or proud enough, the work we do is meaningful and is making a tangible difference to people’s lives. As we roll out Laing O’Rourke’s Stretch Reconciliation Action Plan, we will be braver and bolder with our aspirations to drive education and equity across our business, across our industry and in our society.”

Belinda Murdoch Head of Indigenous Affairs Australia