The People Project: Cath Brokenborough, Executive Lead Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation

This month we're shining a spotlight on the woman leading Lendlease's Indigenous engagement and Reconciliation Action Plan, and how traditional custodianship is recognised in her company's projects.

What’s your day-to-day role at Lendlease?

I’m the Executive Lead Indigenous Engagement and Reconciliation at Lendlease, where I have been very honoured to lead the development of our two Reconciliation Action Plans, including the current Elevate level RAP

Who else do you work with within your team? 

Whilst I work within the Group Sustainability team along with our National RAP Program Manager Sharon Stevenson, and Gymea Indigenous Supplier Diversity Lead Erandi Samarakoon, we have people leading and driving the RAP down through the Lendlease business operations; Liz Potter (Building), Melissa Haigh (Property) and Sarah Marshall and Christopher Bourne (Engineering and Services).

What’s the most memorable project you’ve worked on? 

The Newington Olympic Athletes Village for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

What were some of the biggest challenges of this project? 

The drop dead timeline, but also the major environmental considerations of remediating a large portion of contaminated land; protecting and enhancing the adjacent Haslam’s creek and nearby wetlands; and protection of local endangered species such as the green and gold bellfrog. The planning and delivery of such a large project with thousands of residential house builders from all over Australia converging to build a whole new suburb and having everything operational before the Games.

What about the biggest opportunities? 

Having the ability to be able to change career directions multiple times in a large organisation such as Lendlease, with the biggest opportunity being able to work on the Reconciliation Action Plan, ensuring that Indigenous Australians’ cultural heritage and traditional custodianship of the land is recognised in our projects and operations and that employment opportunities and other initiatives are developed and implemented at Lendlease to eradicate social and economic inequalities between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

What does reconciliation mean to you?

Accepting and bringing together all the strands of our history, culture and heritage – Indigenous, colonial and various emigration streams and realising that this gives us a diverse and very rich platform on which to create our future. A future that should be free of racism and equitable for all Australians.

How would you like to see reconciliation considered within the property industry? 

I think that it is a vital consideration in true place-making and should be incorporated throughout the planning, design and whole lifecycle of an asset. I believe that community should be involved in the co-design and co-delivery of projects and that there is real value and commercial benefits to this, not least of all the fulfilment of our obligations to ensure that human rights principles are met.