Alison Coffey, Chairperson for Ventia

Alison Coffey has long had a passion for developing programs and initiatives to support Indigenous engagement at Ventia. 

Alison was Chair of Ventia's First People's Working Party in 2018 and most recently stepped into the role of Chairperson for Ventia's Regional Indigenous Steering Committee (RISC) for the Western Australia region.

As Transport Regional Manager West, Alison's experience in working with Indigenous suppliers and employees has positioned her well to guide the RISC as they look for opportunities to engage across the state. 

Recently, the committee invited local Indigenous supplier Waddi Group to present on their offering, which includes coffee, coffee machines and spring water supplies across the Perth and Pilbara regions. 

"They're such an inspiring company," Alison says. "They are 100% Indigenous owned as well as being 100% female owned. They also have a strong sustainability focus, being 100% off-grid and solar filtered."

With current local Indigenous employment at 17.6% and 6.5% Indigenous business spend on Ventia's Pilbara Rural Road Network contract, building strong relationships in local communities in which they operate has been core to their strategy. 

"We will invite another supplier along to our next meeting," Alison notes. "And we're looking into hosting an Indigenous focused vendor forum across the Transport and Resources sectors in the Pilbara region. This is a way we can introduce our business leaders and commercial decision makers to suppliers they could be working with." 

Alison says the committee are also looking at ways to include this thinking upfront in the procurement planning during bids, to support inclusion opportunity identification. 

"The best opportunity we have to change the way we do things is when we kick off a new contract," Alison explains.

By including discussions around diversity and Indigenous engagement at the start, we're keeping it front of mind for everyone involved in mobilising the contract and then it becomes the way that we work.

In her day job, Alison and her team work closely with contracts to support improved opportunities for local Indigenous businesses to work with Ventia, in particular on large Transport contracts like the Statewide Electrical Infrastructure Services contract, the Statewide Road Construction Panel and the Pilbara Rural Road Network Contract.

This has involved activities like providing training and education for suppliers to improve their ability to tender for and service large infrastructure contracts. They also have a focus on Indigenous employment, particularly through apprenticeships and traineeships.

For more information on the work Ventia does in the region, visit our Western Australia page here. For more information on our Reconciliation Action Plan, visit here.

Pictured above: Alison Coffey, Chairperson for Ventia's Regional Indigenous Steering Committee (RISC) for the Western Australia region.


Reconciliation Week runs from 27 May to 3 June. This year's theme is: More than a word, reconciliation takes action.

Read more about Indigenous employment program.

Read more about our approach to Indigenous participation.