Firm makes success of ground work

Headshot of Geoff Vivian
Geoff VivianMidwest Times
Email Geoff Vivian
Eddy Ah-Kim, Peter Anderson and Ashley Humphries with native plants at the Western Mulga nursery. Western Mulga grows the plants from wild seed for revegetation projects.
Camera IconEddy Ah-Kim, Peter Anderson and Ashley Humphries with native plants at the Western Mulga nursery. Western Mulga grows the plants from wild seed for revegetation projects. Credit: Supplied

Geraldton-based company Western Mulga reported a seven-figure turnover last financial year from environmental and land management activities.

The company employs a significant number of Aboriginal workers.

Sandy McEwan, who is one of two shareholders along with Gina Cross, said much of the work had been revegetation.

“Whether it’s roadsides or mine sites or waste dumps, they need rehabilitating,” he said. “We pick the seed, propagate the seed and plant it back out during winter.

“We also do weed management, so we are set up as a pesticide firm PHD1132 and we are able to apply herbicides and control pests.”

Mr McEwan and Ms Cross started the company almost seven years ago and employ about 20 Aboriginal people.

“Of all our employees, only one is permanent and he’s been with us the longest, the rest are all casual pending work,” Mr McEwan said.

He said they had 10 to 15 clients on a fee-for-service basis including local councils, WA government departments, mining companies and the Northern Agricultural Catchments Council.

The latter contract was announced in August when NACC obtained $1.5 million Commonwealth funding for a Natural Resource Management program and now contracts Western Mulga to provide rangers.

Mr McEwan said workers came from various parts of WA and their traditional knowledge was invaluable as indigenous rangers. “Sea rangers will show the traditional way they catch marine life along reefs and the rangers that are from inland have their way of finding bush tucker,” he said.

“They love learning and many of them came with minimal land management or horticultural experience, that’s what we teach them while they’re working at Western Mulga.” They are seeking more clients and are keen to diversify into areas such as vegetation and wildlife monitoring for scientific purposes.

“Anything to do with country and working on country, we’d love to be involved to sustain our business and employ more Aboriginal people,” he said.

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails