05/07/2016 - 15:26

ICRG gets new chair, owners

05/07/2016 - 15:26

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Western Australia’s largest indigenous contractor has elected a new chairman and confirmed plans to lift both Aboriginal ownership and Aboriginal participation on its board.

The Guma joint venture has three contracts with Fortescue Metals Group.

Western Australia’s largest indigenous contractor has elected a new chairman and confirmed plans to lift both Aboriginal ownership and Aboriginal participation on its board.

Nyiyaparli traditional owner Raymond Drage has succeeded Clinton Wolf as chairman of Welshpool-based Indigenous Construction Resource Group.

Mr Drage already has a close connection with ICRG through joint venture company Guma.

He and Victor Parker joined with ICRG in 2012 to establish the 50:50 joint venture, which provides civil works and construction support to mining companies.

Guma is one of several joint ventures ICRG has established with Aboriginal families and traditional owner groups.

ICRG has 210 staff, mostly in northern WA, with about 60 per cent being Aboriginal.

Its WA staff numbers put it just ahead of Kimberley Regional Service Providers and Eastern Guruma as the state’s largest indigenous contractor, according to the BNiQ search engine.

In a statement, ICRG said it was seeking to lift indigenous participation in the business.

“While the changes are still in progress, early indications are the indigenous ownership will almost double from current levels and board representation will be around 75 per cent,” it said.

Mr Wolf, who told Business News he was still a director and shareholder of ICRG, has been working for more than 18 months to bring in new Aboriginal shareholders.

A key issue for ICRG is whether its indigenous ownership level, believed to be 25 per cent currently, rises above 50 per cent.

ICRG will need to reach 51 per cent Aboriginal ownership before it can be certified an indigenous business by Supply Nation.

The Guma joint venture, and other ICRG joint ventures, already have Supply Nation certification, but ICRG on its own does not.

Mr Drage said he was also looking to lift Aboriginal employment.

“It is a privilege to lead the company in a new direction – one that is focused on supporting the mobs, where we create as many jobs as possible for our people and we increase our own Aboriginal employment levels to 80 per cent,” he said.

His election as chairman follows the appointment last year of former NRW Holdings chief executive Jeff McGlinn as chief executive.

“Jeff has brought in a whole new management team which has increased the professionalism of the business, and along with Jeff’s own success and his passion to really make a difference for Aboriginal people, it is an exciting time to be involved,” Mr Drage said.

With a client list including Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto, Roy Hill, BGC Contracting, Brierty and Mineral Resources, the company has annual turnover of about $63 million.

The Guma joint venture is one of the major contributors to ICRG’s total turnover – it currently has three contracts with Fortescue Metal Group, at Port Hedland and the Christmas Creek mine.

The Guma joint venture is chaired by indigenous leader and academic Marcia Langton, who is also a director of ICRG.

ICRG was started by Mike McCrystal and Nick Jakov in 2010, and they continue working in the business.

Chief operating officer Shane Cable told Business News last month that ICRG’s growth strategies included negotiating more joint ventures around Australia.

“We try to partner with traditional owner groups,” Mr Cable said.

“That can’t always be done.

“We’re there to employ as many Aboriginal people as possible.”

While ICRG’s Aboriginal identity is a key part of the business, Mr Cable emphasised the firm wanted to win work on its merits.

“We want our delivery to be the best out of any contractor,” he said.

“That’s how we’ve positioned ourselves for the construction downturn.”

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