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Supported by

Kwatye – Cultural Recognition Award

In partnership with TRILITY, WIOA invites applications for the Kwatye – Cultural Recognition Award.

The term ‘Kwatye’ means water to the aboriginal Arrente people from the Northern Territory.  For many people in Australia, water is a resource more precious than gold.

About the Cultural Recognition Award

The award is open to WIOA individual members, to recognise an initiative involving cultural or diversity and inclusion based activities within a project and/or community in which they serve.  

The winner will have made an outstanding contribution to supporting diversity and fostering inclusion in the workplace or community. The award focuses on those who have gone above and beyond to further inclusion, connection and belonging for co-workers, members of the community and people from disadvantaged and marginalised groups. 

Nominees should be employed in Australia and have initiated and/or implemented a successful cultural, diversity or inclusion related activity and/or program in association with the community they service. 

Previous Kwatye Award Winners

Award supported by TRILITY
2020 Jessica Wilson & Jordin Payne – Water Corporation
2019 Paul Beard – Water Corporation

Award supported by Thermo Fisher Scientific
2017 Max Gray – TRILITY
2016 Rodney Priest – Goulburn Murray Water
2015 Frank Rinaldo – North East Water
2014 Michael Fawcett – South East Water
2013 Mick Clewes – North East Water
2012 Mark McConnon – TasWater
2011 Rod Curtis – Western Water
2010 Russell Evans – Power & Water
2009 Bernd Vetter – Utility Services
2008 Paulus des Anges & Nick Bray – Grundfos Pumps & Goulburn Valley Water
2007 Graham Thomson – Barwon Water
2006 Anthony Evans – Wannon Water
2005 Eddy Ostarcevic – GWM Water

2020 Winner – Jessica Wilson & Jordin Payne from Water Corporation

Congratulations to Jordin Payne and Jessica Wilson from Water Corporation in Western Australia who have been recognised for their work in the diversity & inclusion space as the winner of the 2020 Kwatye Award.

Their project titled Aboriginal Community Services, North West Operations was a first of its kind for Water Corporation that went beyond traditional cultural awareness training into tailored localised water learning.

Participants from the Kimberley and Pilbara regions were guided by cultural elders and traditional owners on Country in three separate sessions to learn about water stories, ways of knowing water, water management, and truth-telling.

The sessions empowered employees with local cultural water knowledge to allow them to navigate their spaces with respect and appreciation for Aboriginal ways of knowing and their ongoing connection to water and country.

The program looks beyond the initial sessions into genuine collaborative partnerships that reinforce positive relationships and continue the water learning in the towns the operators and trades teams live, work and care for.

As the winner of the Kwatye award, the opportunity to donate the $1,000 prize to the charity or program of their choice will be provided to Jordin and Jessica on behalf of the sponsor, TRILITY.

2019 Winner – Paul Beard from Water Corporation

Congratulations to Paul Beard from Water Corporation in Western Australia who was announced as the winner of the 2019 Kwatye Prize at WIOA’s South Australia conference.

The Water Corporation project included two components, the development of a Native Seed bank in partnership with the Mamabulanjin Aboriginal Corporation and the Kimberley Community Grants Project.

Courtesy of award sponsor TRILITY Paul undertook a One week all-expenses paid cultural exchange trip to China that included flights, accommodation, meal & transfer allowances, Beijing Water project site visits as well as some sightseeing opportunities.

Paul’s Story

My travel buddy Craig Vallance (TRILITY) and I arrived in Beijing China on Sunday 3rd November and were greeted by our knowledgeable guide and friend for the week, Meng. Our base was the Baifuyi Hotel in the centre of Beijing’s buzzing Embassy Precinct.

My first impression of China was nothing like I had expected. What I thought would be congested and dirty, was actually lusciously green and clean, with workers on every corner sweeping up the autumn leaves. It was bloody cold for a lad from the Kimberley.

Our first outing was a visit to Beijing Water Groups headquarters for a meet and greet with Mr George Law, who welcomed us with the best coffee I have ever tasted. I was presented with Beijing Water Groups business structure and vision for the future. As the third largest utility in the world with 50,000 staff across the globe; it was impressive to see that Environment was one of the hot topics and business units within the company.

Craig and I were then given a tour of a waste water treatment plant and an award winning water treatment plant in Raoyang, I was most impressed with the dedication of the staff that worked in these two plants, who all took pride in their work area. The General Manager of the Raoyang Water Treatment Plant runs a very tight ship and whilst the language barrier was a challenge, it was evident that we operate in a similar style and share the same vision and values.

In between business activities Craig and I were whisked along freeways to some of the most mind-blowing world heritage sites you could think of. These included the Forbidden City, the Temple of Heaven, Tiananmen Square, Jingshan Park and most excitingly the Great Wall of China.

On our arrival at the Great Wall we (in our wisdom) decided we would climb the steep side because it wasn’t as busy as the not so steep side. After reaching the summit and descending to the bottom for an ice-cream, somebody mentioned that we should climb the other side; no one was game to give in so up we went again.

The trip was nothing short of sensational and it was refreshing to see how water and waste water services have synergies, but can also differ, from one country to the next. I would like to thank WIOA for the award and TRILITY for the amazing prize, this really was a once in a lifetime experience and I am extremely grateful for the honour.