XSTRATA Coal, the state’s largest coalmining company, launched a reconciliation plan for the Upper Hunter at a ceremony in Singleton this week.
The plan, based on work by a five member community consultative board which has been meeting since February this year, is a first for this region.
Businesses across Australia have been developing reconciliation action plans since 2006 and there are now 400 in operation throughout the country.
Xstrata Coal’s community relations coordinator Craig Strudwick said the action plan was about developing relationships within the community.
“The five member working group behind the plan was a sounding board for targets and strategies and the company has existing programs in the region that are up and running and the plan will build on these,” he said.
“It’s a policy about shared values.”
The plan states that Xstrata Coal is committed to developing its operations in a sustainable manner with three core pillars of reconciliation – relationships, respect and opportunities.
“We will continually measure outcomes to enhance our own opportunities to assist in “closing the gap” between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-indigenous Australians”
The plan has six focus areas - relationships and reconciliation; cultural understanding and awareness; skills development and employment; education and community plus social involvement and business development.
The plan states “Our commitment to the communities of the Upper Hunter is a long-term one.
“The journey will be challenging and rewarding and we will remain focused through the delivery of realistic, targeted and measurable outcomes.
“Our approach to measuring performance will be transparent and regularly reviewed”