As the Stockinbingal to Parkes (S2P) Inland Rail section gears up for construction, the Forbes Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre has taken the initiative to lead an immersive cultural tour for the teams from Inland Rail and major contractor Martinus Rail.
(min cost $8)
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The tour, which served as a poignant prelude to the impending construction efforts, encompassed a traditional Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony, a delectable lunch featuring native foods, and an enlightening journey along Lake Forbes, highlighting sites of profound cultural significance, guided by the Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre team.
"We welcomed the opportunity to host the Inland Rail and Martinus Rail teams on a tour of cultural sites in Forbes," Aunty Wendy from the Dreaming Centre said.
"Together we spent time at the yarning circle and visited the bronze 'Family Matters' sculpture and totem poles which tell stories from our community.
"The day was a fantastic opportunity to start new relationships between the Wiradjuri people and Inland Rail, and we look forward to working collaboratively to preserve our cultural heritage along the alignment."
Melvyn Maylin, Inland Rail Director of Program Delivery for Albury to Parkes, emphasised the commitment to consulting with First Nations leaders, ensuring that progress aligns with the aspirations of the local communities.
"The cultural appreciation tour was a great opportunity to discuss the history of our first peoples, be more aware of our environment and make conscious decisions about preserving cultural heritage going forward," Mr Maylin said.
"We would like to thank the team at the Forbes Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre for a meaningful and positive tour, and we look forward to continuing this relationship between the Wiradjuri people and Inland Rail."
Gavin Murphy, General Manager - Major Projects at Martinus Rail, echoed the sentiment of fostering strong partnerships with Indigenous communities, recognizing their crucial role in the project's success.
"Our collaboration with First Nations leaders is fundamental to our approach, ensuring that we work in harmony with the cultural heritage and values of the regions we operate in," Gavin Murphy said.
"We extend our gratitude to the Forbes Wiradjuri Dreaming Centre for their invaluable insights during the cultural appreciation tour, and we are dedicated to further strengthening our relationship with the Wiradjuri people as we commence this program of works."
The Australian Government's staged approach to delivering Inland Rail prioritizes construction between Beveridge in Victoria and Parkes in New South Wales for completion by 2027.
These developments will establish vital connections to existing rail networks, facilitating seamless travel between Melbourne, Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, and the Illawarra via Parkes and Narromine.
For more information on Inland Rail's engagement with First Nations communities, visit their website.
First Nations businesses keen on opportunities within the Inland Rail project are encouraged to register their interest for Supplier Capability Development workshops hosted by the Inland Rail Skills Academy.
The second set of workshops, focusing on tendering for work, will be held this week in Forbes, Wagga Wagga, and Albury.
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