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Aboriginal engagement plays a key role in the Lakelands Station Project, with a focus on building relationships that leave a legacy for years to come.
The station site is nestled beside Black Swan Lake Reserve and the team have been identifying ways to integrate this natural habitat into the station design to recognise the identity and cultural significance of the local area.
Championing this work is Aboriginal Engagement Lead Annette Panaia, who works with the project team and key stakeholders to engage with the local and greater Aboriginal community.
“My role is to guide the project team on Aboriginal inclusion, employment and procurement, cultural recognition, site management, public art and place-making, but my job is more than just ticking these boxes,” Annette said.
“For me, it signifies and complements my life's passion working for, and on behalf of, my Aboriginal people. I am first and foremost a strong community-minded person and this drives me to role model my 'mob' and build their capacity and confidence to achieve their goals.”
“I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life, getting to know their stories and educating non-Aboriginal people and people from other culturally diverse backgrounds about the first nations people,” she said.
To date, eight Aboriginal companies have been engaged in construction across the project and Aboriginal artwork will be incorporated into the station design, with artists to be appointed soon.
The project is committed to the inclusion of the local Aboriginal Bindjareb community throughout the lifecycle of the project and works with Winjan Aboriginal Corporation to help facilitate open communication and relationship-building.