New South Wales
To Whom it May Concern,
I, Steven Fordham, am the founder and Managing Director of Blackrock Industries (a 100% Indigenous-owned business) and I am writing this letter of support to highlight the invaluable work Mach Energy are doing within the social inclusion space that often may go unnoticed. We feel it needs to be highlighted and celebrated as they have made a real difference to our business and our Community.
As a proud Kamilaroi man, I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to help our mob, to help families grow together and not fracture and fall apart, which is part of the systemic problems we face in our community today. This is where I have created the Second Chance for Change Program, which works with incarcerated Indigenous men, to help them rehabilitate through training, skills and education. To date we have rehabilitated 65 men and have provided countless other opportunities for Aboriginal people to seek employment.
This achievement is impossible to do alone. We can only achieve this amazing result through help from our bigger brothers, and I can whole-heartedly recommend and shine light on Mach Energy and what they have done to truly help create change.
I have engaged with many large corporate companies to seek assistance and have been disappointed through many meetings which resulted in no outcome. My experience with Mach Energy, is that they have lived up to their values and have assisted Blackrock to grow into one of the larger Indigenous businesses in the Hunter Valley, which, in turn helps the Second Chance for Change Program succeed in making a real difference. Mach Energy have done this often without seeking public recognition.
The team at Blackrock Industries can speak very highly of Mach Energy and our contact, Ngaire Baker and Richard Baily . But, I can also say that my contemporaries in the Indigenous space would also share the same feelings of inclusion and support that we have all gained from our relationship with Mach Energy.
It’s not often you see a company take a chance on a young 25 year old with nothing but $20,000 a tipper truck and a dream, but Mach Energy did. They say our people come from the dream time, but Mach Energy made my dream happen, through the support and belief and optimism in giving us a chance. They did not see the RISK, rather they only saw the reward in helping create a better future.
To date, through the ACDF fund, Mach Energy has put over $4 million into the Aboriginal Community with a focus on health; economic development; cultural and community development and education and also with a further commitment of $670,000 each year on top of the $4 million they have already spent. This is unbelievable but even more, they have given our mob a voice on how the money should be spent through having an amazing group of Aboriginal people that run the fund. This is the way it should be, to have our people not be told what’s good for them all the time, but with Mach Energy, they let us create our own destiny.
By letting this extension go ahead, you will support over 320 people employed on the project and their families, help continue their employment with most of their wages going back into the community that is used to buy things like a pie on the way to work, a loaf of bread on the way home, or even pay for a little girl to get dancing lessons a little boy to get his Ram’s team jersey, and to help a mum and dad put food on the table. This is the stability of having a job at Mach Energy.
This project is vital for not only the large businesses but the mum and dad business that started in their sheds at home with nothing but an idea and a chance and the willingness to have a go. Through the support of Mines like Mach energy these businesses have an actual chance a succeeding in their ambitions. If Mach Energy does not get this approval, it will not only affect these 320 people that would lose their jobs, it would affect 320 families and local business and our local community that rely on this income.
In 2016, when Drayton Coal Mine’s application for extension was rejected, our whole community felt this blow. Not only did it affect people’s jobs, but it affected people’s lives; people that have been living here for 3-4 generations were moving away from the area to look for work, and leaving an area they called home. Businesses that relied on that income had to shut down and their dreams of owning a business, destroyed. But, luckily we had Mach Energy open and this helped give our community a chance to rebuild and thrive and I hope never to see a day like this again.
Over the past five years, it’s been the hardest time to be in business, but in rural Australia, you have to be tough but you also have to have the support of your community and be there to support them through the hard times too. Bush fires and droughts are a common part of life living in rural Australia, but with COVID-19 this has affected not only Muswellbrook but all of Australia and provides much uncertainty to what the future holds. By approving this project you give a community hope and security in a very uncertain time.
Should you wish to support Mach Energy in their bid for this extension, I would have the utmost confidence in knowing they will fulfil their pledge to help support the local businesses in the Muswellbrook area. They will increase social inclusion and create a better future for our local community.
Please do not hesitate to contact me directly should you wish to discuss this further.