An Indigenous earthmoving company has received a swathe of support from the civil construction industry to grow its business.
Yunaga Civil & Earth (YCE) is an Indigenous-owned and -run civil and earthmoving company based in the Hunter Valley. The company also offers consultation services to protect and conserve Aboriginal heritage.
As part of a collaborative effort between six entities, YCE has received expertise, capital services and products to build its business. Caterpillar dealer WesTrac has provided heavy machinery, including Caterpillar excavators and dump trucks, to YCE to grow its business.
Daracon Group, which runs four quarries throughout regional NSW, provided a working capital loan which enabled YCE, in conjunction with a $2 million small Indigenous-owned business grant from the Federal Government-backed National Indigenous Australians Agency, to assemble its earthmoving fleet and offer more employment opportunities to Indigenous people.
At the beginning of February, YCE and its six supporters came together to celebrate the final payment of the loan to Daracon in a cheque presentation ceremony.
YCE founding partner and chief operating officer Victor Perry said the support from Daracon, WesTrac and the other companies had been vital to the company’s growth.
“Without Daracon’s financial assistance, there is no way we would be in the cash-flow positive position we are today,” Perry said.
“This final repayment is a significant milestone for our company, as it not only reflects our growth and viability, but importantly it affirms our operating model and the quality of service we’re providing.
“From the very beginning we’ve had overwhelming support from each of the six entities that got involved,” Perry added.
“For the past 11 years we’ve toiled away with a vision to one day create jobs and employment opportunities for Indigenous people, and in the past few years our growth has really accelerated, helping us achieve that outcome.
“It’s the support and guidance provided by each of these companies that has made this vision become a reality. On behalf of everyone at YCE, we thank all our partners.”
Jon Mingay, the managing director of Daracon Group, said that through a clear vision and persistence, YCE had become a successful, reputable and reliable Indigenous civil and earthmoving company.
“Victor, with the support of the ServeGate team, already had a strong business plan and clear idea of where and how they wanted to grow,” Mingay said.
“Today they are now a viable option to be considered on all projects which is a credit to their ongoing hard work as well as the quality of service provided.”
WesTrac chief executive for NSW/ACT Greg Graham said its partnership with YCE demonstrates its commitment to Indigenous and workplace diversity.
“Supporting Indigenous Australians is one of four key diversity categories we are focused on,” he said.
“At WesTrac we value helping local communities as well as embracing diversity as an important part of our philosophy and culture.
“YCE’s successful growth makes it an outstanding role model for other Indigenous companies to aspire to, and we hope that through this collaboration we encourage other companies to consider committing to similar partnerships.”