Cleanaway at the 2018 Annual AEMEE Conference

Cleanaway Key Account Manager Ian Raines and National Aboriginal Engagement Advisor Reg Yarren recently attended the AEMEE (Aboriginal Enterprises in Mining, Energy & Exploration) conference held in Fremantle, Western Australia. Ian shares his thoughts about the event and how AEMEE plays an influential role in the resource sector.


AEMEE is an organisation focused on Indigenous economic development in the resource sector. AEMEE has influence at all levels of government with prominent members often asked to speak and share ideas that shape policy and direction for the biggest tier one players in WA, if not Australia. These include BHP, Chevron, Rio Tinto, Shell, just to name a few.


Over the two-day conference, we heard a range of engaging and inspiring speakers from diverse backgrounds. The AEMEE tagline was “Listen, Learn and Lead”:


Listen from the experienced.
Learn from the past.
Lead for the future.


Everything I saw suggests AEMEE is doing its part and wants to bring everyone along by helping Indigenous business learn and grow, showing non-Indigenous businesses how they can contribute and be a part of the economic wave in the resource sector and other sectors by embracing Indigenous economic development ideas.


Organisations like AEMEE have the attention of people and organisations with influence. It was this influence that helped create the first Indigenous-owned iron ore mine site. It was this support and network that helped an Indigenous-owned heavy haulage business pivot to become the primary waste contractor for Shell up in the NT. It was this collectiveness that created a directory for Indigenous businesses called Supply Nation. It was this collective influence that lobbied the government for 3% of all Commonwealth contracts to be issued to Indigenous businesses.


Here’s an example of why influence at a business and economic level is so important to the viability of Indigenous businesses. Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) encouraged Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) to change their entire lending criteria so that large amounts of capital could be loaned to Indigenous businesses to buy assets for single contracts at similar or equal rates on the loans as FMG.


Think about that – enough money to buy plant equipment off the strength of an FMG contract while repaying the debt at the same rate with one of the top 4 banks in Australia. It certainly seems AEMEE are finding ways to influence the influential.


Previously, I figured Indigenous economic development only affected the mining economy. Positive bias towards Indigenous businesses made sense to me, because it was making remote communities flourish by employing and upskilling people who live in the country.


But now all levels of government have a new challenge – how do metro locations meet the Commonwealth procurement policy target of 3% by 2020? How do corporate citizens keen on contributing via procurement and other means do that if they are outside of the resource sector?


That got me thinking – can the same successes in mining areas be replicated in the metro areas of Australia? That’s probably a different article but it is something we need to consider so we can do our bit to achieve the target for Indigenous procurement. What we do know is that diversity and diverse buying partnerships are good for business.


Pictured above from left to right:

1. Tammy O’Conner (Site Supervisor)
2. Damian Burton (General Manager of Solids WA)
3. Juan-Mari Davies (Key Account Manager)
4. Ian Raines (Key Account Manager)
5. Reg Yarran (National Aboriginal Engagement Advisor)
6. Dale Waters (Business Unit Sales Manager)


Find out more about Cleanaway’s commitment to our Reconciliation Action Plan. We endorse the vision of a nation which values Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, cultures and peoples, and recognises their unique position as the original custodians of Australia.