Progress on Humpty Doo Barramundi’s IES Strategy

Not quite COVID-proof but still kicking goals

IES project update

The barramundi is iconic to Northern Australia known for its strength, size and taste and sought after by consumers in high-end restaurants to local supermarkets. To support consumers purchasing the prized fish, Humpty Doo Barramundi (HDB) produces and delivers high-quality saltwater barramundi across Australia and internationally all year around. HDB is 100 percent owned and managed by the Richards family who have worked hard over generations to build their business and support the aquaculture industry in the Territory.

HDB successfully applied for a NAIF loan in 2018 to expand their aquaculture farm with a medium fish nursery, production ponds and processing equipment. The expansion is a staged project to improve production and meet increasing demand.

Approximately 6.9% of the population of Humpty Doo identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander. HDB has worked with various organisations in the Darwin region to better engage Indigenous staff on their team. In 2018 HDB developed an Indigenous Engagement Strategy (IES) to support Indigenous employment and procurement outcomes, a commitment that was recognised when they won the Woolworths Sustainability Supplier of the Year Award in December 2018 for their efforts to build the business’ cultural capability.

HDB has used an innovative Indigenous employment model through the Sentenced to a Job Program where prisoners who are eligible are assessed, linked with a job service agency and provided support, training, mentoring and an award wage while undergoing meaningful and sustainable work. HDB successfully employed up to eight prisoners through the program until COVID-19 hit. Indigenous communities in Northern Australia have been heavily impacted by the pandemic including Indigenous staff at HDB with some returning to their communities and families during lockdown periods. Despite this major disruption HDB continues to have a total Indigenous workforce of 9%.[1]

(*Correct August 2020).

HDB engaged Cross Cultural Consultants, an Aboriginal owned business, to help build their cultural competency and provide guidance in creating a culturally safe environment in the workplace and developed a Memorandum of Understand (MoU) with Karen Sheldon Training to assist with the design of training and employment programs. The Humpty Doo region is rich with cultural diversity and HDB promotes the local cultural landscape and knowledge to staff and delegates though local Indigenous businesses such as Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours Run by the Kenyon family. HDB has promoted cultural awareness with visiting wholesalers and high -end chefs who participate in a Pudakul tour experience which has been very positively received.

Despite the challenges HDB have been inventive in their Indigenous engagement strategies, working towards great outcomes and supporting their desire of becoming an employer of choice for Indigenous people – building Indigenous participation in the industry.

 

[1] Correct as at August 2020