SUEZ celebrates NAIDOC Week with Bibra Lake ceremony

A smoking ceremony and presentation of a $12,885 community grant to a local group at SUEZ’s Bibra Lake office in Western Australia have headlined the company’s celebration of NAIDOC Week 2020. 

Employees at SUEZ’s Bibra Lake office yesterday participated in a special event that included a traditional smoking ceremony performed by a senior Whadjuk man against the backdrop of the Aboriginal and the Torres Strait Islander flags. The event included an acknowledgement of the Whadjuk people, the traditional owners of the land on which the office is located. SUEZ was joined by a community grants recipient, Foundation for Indigenous Sustainable Health (FISH), which recently received a cheque for $12,885.

The foundation’s mission is to improve the social and emotional wellbeing of Aboriginal people and break intergenerational cycles of trauma, poverty and engagement in the justice system. Through our SUEZ community grants program, we chose to support projects that strongly resonated with the reconciliation movement, including those supporting Aboriginal community groups. Since 2014, approximately one million dollars in grants have been provided to community groups across Australia. 

FISH Chief Executive Officer, Mark Anderson, said the organisation was proud to be working with SUEZ on improving the social and emotion wellbeing of Aboriginal people.

“SUEZ most recently supported FISH’s project in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia where we have created a national prototype for sustainable Indigenous housing, training and enterprise development,” he said. “Working together we can all do so much more in bringing positive, long-term sustainable change.”

SUEZ’s journey towards reconciliation is recognised through various initiatives such as its partnership with the Clontarf Foundation, an organisation which helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men to attend school, complete Year 12 and enter employment. Around 300 young men have been supported through 15 different interactions across Australia. SUEZ is also a member of Supply Nation which provides the opportunity to work with Aboriginal businesses. Seven suppliers received a total of $841,000 as part of business partnerships in the 2019–20 financial year in areas such as facilities management and construction. 

Daniel van Veen, SUEZ’s Infrastructure Manager for Western Australia, said yesterday’s event highlighted the organisation’s commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

“In 2020, we began our annual senior leaders’ conference with a welcome to country, performed by a local Elder,” he said. “The smoking ceremony was another way for the organisation to acknowledge the first nations of this country.”