Geoff Wedlock Innovation Park

During construction in 2010, Karara purchased land for its rail infrastructure. Some of the land is classed as semi-arable and about 5,000 acres was set aside to establish a Mid West innovation hub for mining and non-mining related ventures. The land is named after former Gindalbie Metals Chairman, Geoff Wedlock, and has been dubbed Innovation Park.

In 2011, Karara partnered with the Midwest Employment and Economic Development Aboriginal Corporation (MEEDAC) to develop a large-scale and commercially viable chicken farm, free-range egg and horticultural enterprise at Innovation Park. Administered by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Innovation Park is central to a major community development program. It directly employs a number of people and provides annual traineeships, on-the-job training, job qualifications and real employment outcomes for Indigenous and Non-Indigenous workers in a culturally sensitive way and “on-country.”

Innovation Park is a sustainable social enterprise for the large-scale production, commercial packing and supply of fresh vegetables and free-range eggs. About 70% of produce is used to supply the Karara Village and is delivered fresh to site within 90 minutes. Remaining produce is distributed within the regional community, ensuring the availability of premium quality and fresh local produce, at discounted prices. The project continues to grow, with plans in 2018 to establish a fully enclosed and climate controlled 10,000 square metre greenhouse.

Innovation Park provides a unique opportunity for us to achieve Karara’s community ambitions. Since 2014, more than 50 people have participated in programs and more than 20 people have left the project to take up new full-time employment in the region.

In 2016, Karara Mining Ltd and MEEDAC were jointly awarded the Inaugural Department of Mines & Petroleum Resources Sector Community Partnership Award by the Minister in recognition of the deep and sustainable partnership arrangement between Karara and MEEDAC, the innovative program and the diverse range of important and successful outcomes it has delivered.

Community Investment

With a long-life operation in the region, we believe that the success of Karara is linked with the enduring strength of our community connections and relationships. Identifying and supporting opportunities to create/deliver sustainable business and job development, effective collaboration and meaningful partnerships in the Mid West is a core commitment at Karara.

More than 1,680 business were involved in the construction and development of Karara; nearly 20% were local businesses, with a local economic contribution of AUD $350 million and AUD $2.15 billion spent nationally – mostly in Western Australia.

Our ongoing investment is focused on supporting four key areas of community need identified in consultation with local Shires and community interest groups:

  • Health
  • Education
  • Youth development

Our approach is to foster effective relationships with organisations, community groups and agencies to achieve the best possible outcomes. Karara continues to provide significant levels of funding annually for targeted community programs and initiatives.

Our Community Programs

We have developed a diverse range of innovative and sustainable programs to address regional health, education, youth development and housing needs.

Karara Community Farm

The Community Farm was developed in 2011 on 600 acres of company-owned land. The Farm is an agricultural resource made available to the community to use and to generate profits on a “user-pays/user benefits” basis. This provides an alternative means of fundraising to traditional donations and sponsorships and allows community groups to work together in a grain-growing enterprise, on Karara-provided land, to achieve positive outcomes for the community.

Applications to use the Community Farm are submitted annually by community groups. The right to use the Farm each season is awarded by Karara after careful review of the merit and potential community benefit/impacts in each application. This innovative community partnership approach to fundraising has so far generated more than AUD $500,000 in funding for community projects.

Funds raised are seasonally dependent and distributed to areas where funding is difficult. Recent successful outcomes are shown below.

Year Community Group Crop Community Outcomes
2011 Morawa Winter Sports Group Wheat $90,000 – improve sporting facilities.
2012 Morawa Football Club & Morawa Netball Club Wheat $68,000 – upgrade lighting for night fixtures.
2013 Morawa Golf Club & Morawa Bowling Club Wheat $98,000 – install renewable energy solar system.
2014 Morawa District High School & Morawa Agricultural College Wheat $78,000 – upgrade boarding facilities/dormitories.
2015 Morawa Winter Sports Group Wheat $84,000 – improve sporting facilities.
2016 Morawa Bowling Club Wheat $120,000 – improve green and facilities.

Karara Community Health Fund

The Karara Community Health Fund (CHF) was launched in June 2012 during Karara’s construction phase. It was underpinned by an initial investment of AUD $300,000 from contractor partners, local government, employee fundraising activities, and recycling and innovation programs at Karara. Today, significant contributions to the fund are derived from waste and scrap metal recycling programs on the mine site.

Mobile Dental Clinic

Karara’s flagship community initiative has its origins in the Community Health Fund and was developed in partnership with the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS). Karara and the RFDS have developed a state-of-the-art Mobile Dental Clinic in a customised and fully equipped/air-conditioned dental van, purchased and equipped by Karara and operated by the RFDS. The clinic operates across various Shires in the Mid West.

The mobile clinic is meeting a key community objective to provide mobile dental healthcare services annually in the Shires. We are incredibly proud of this initiative, which has received strong support and wide acclaim from residents, community groups and local government authorities alike in the region.

Murchison Family Support Network

This key project involves contributions of financial support from Karara to the Parkerville Children and Youth Care Inc. in line with Karara’s community funding objectives. Karara joined forces with Parkerville to establish and provide ongoing funding for a new Murchison Family Support Network in Geraldton. Karara provides support of AUD $250,000 toward annual operating costs.

Parkerville provides critical care, support and treatment services for children who have suffered trauma and abuse in Geraldton and surrounding areas. It is one of the oldest non-government organisations in the state dedicated to providing care and protection to children and young people in need. Karara is proud to support this critical service in the Mid West.

The Murchison Family Support Network is the second of its type in WA, following Parkerville’s establishment in 2011 of the Child Advocacy Centre at Armadale in Perth’s outer south-eastern suburbs. A joint government and non-government Family Support Network was established in 2012.

Morawa General Practitioner (GP) Flights

Karara provides an equivalent of one fully funded return flight every fortnight for a Perth-based Doctor/General Practitioner (26 return flights per annum) to the region. As well as ensuring increased medical coverage, this program also assists in the attraction and retention of experienced and effective in the Morawa, Perenjori and Mingenew Shires.

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