At Fortescue, supporting and investing in sustainable Aboriginal businesses is at the heart of our approach to ensuring Aboriginal communities benefit from the growth and development of our business.
Our Billion Opportunities program is vital to this approach and since its inception in 2011, we have worked with over 100 Aboriginal companies and joint ventures.
Recently, members of our Executive team, including CEO Nev Power, CFO Elizabeth Gaines and Director Operations Greg Lilleyman met with 17 of these businesses to provide an update on our full year results and provide insights into current projects.
Importantly, it was an opportunity to receive invaluable feedback on our procurement processes and Billion Opportunities program.
Fortescue is proud to have awarded close to A$2 billion in contracts to Aboriginal companies and joint ventures, with at least 90 per cent of the contracts awarded to businesses that have an Aboriginal ownership of 50 per cent or greater.
Critical to the success of Billion Opportunities has been our commitment to building the long term sustainability of the businesses, as this creates more employment and development opportunities for Aboriginal Australians.
Through the program, we have been able to encourage and assist in the development of the capability and capacity to supply a significant portion of the inputs required for our business.
This maximises the benefit to local Aboriginal communities through providing genuine economic opportunity and helping to address the serious disadvantage faced by Aboriginal people in the Pilbara.
In addition, we are focussed on improving the competitiveness and capabilities of Aboriginal companies through initiatives like corporate governance training for Aboriginal directors and health and safety strategies and reviews, which opens the door to future works with other organisations.