Our approach

Downer’s operating philosophy is ‘Relationships creating success’. We actively support the success of the communities in which we operate by fostering and maintaining enduring relationships based on trust.

We understand the significant and lasting socio-economic benefits our presence in the community can bring. We honour the responsibility that comes with that by implementing a range of strategies focusing on social responsibility, local and indigenous employment, cultural heritage management and stakeholder engagement.

In FY19, Downer committed to achieving the following Community targets and objectives:

  • Establish strategic partnerships that support and provide enduring social benefits to disadvantaged communities
  • Increase employee involvement in community activities and partnerships.

Case study

Supporting Christchurch

Our performance

In addition to providing local employment opportunities, Downer is focused on making a difference in our communities through partnerships, sponsorships and donations.

Key initiatives supported include:

Corporate social responsibility

Wall of Hands

Proud supporter of the Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation‘s (ALNF) annual fundraising initiative since 2013. The ALNF works with Indigenous communities and is dedicated to raising language, literacy and numeracy standards in Australia

Wandering Warriors

Supporting the Australian Special Air Service Association to provide mentoring, education, coaching and employment opportunities to veterans through their transition from military to civilian life

Genesis Youth Trust

Downer has supported the Genesis Youth Trust for many years, helping to reduce the levels of youth-offending in the wider Auckland region by working with at-risk youth to transform their lives and engage in local communities

Volunteer Service Abroad

Downer‘s exclusive partnership with Volunteer Service Abroad (VSA) provides some of our young professionals with career experience in the Pacific

Role Models and Leaders Australia and Clontarf Foundation

Spotless supports programs to develop and empower young Aboriginal men and women through sport, leadership, education and employment

Alannah and Madeline Foundation

Spotless has purchased eSmart Digital licences for schools in states we have a Public Private Partnership


Downer has partnered with not-for-profit group Jawun since 2014, providing 45 talented employees and 258 weeks of secondment to work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Cape York, Inner Sydney and West Kimberley

Case study

Keeping students safe

Sporting sponsorships

Sunshine Coast Lightning netball team

Downer has been the Major Partner of Sunshine Coast Lightning since the team’s inception in 2017. The team is based at the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, and is one of eight professional teams competing in Suncorp Super Netball, Australia’s national women’s netball competition. The Lightning won the Grand Final in 2017 to claim the inaugural Suncorp Super Netball title, then won its second successive championship in 2018.

Downer New Zealand Masters Games

Naming rights sponsor for the 2019 New Zealand Masters Games, held in Whanganui. Downer was the primary sponsor for the event alongside our customer, Whanganui District Council. A number of employees participated as competitors or volunteers, aligning to last year‘s Sustainability Report focus area of increasing employee involvement in community activities and partnerships

2019 Rugby League World Cup 9s

In November 2018 Downer was announced as naming rights sponsor of the inaugural RLWC9s tournament, which will take place in October 2019. This continues our support for rugby league, having been naming rights sponsor of the Downer NRL Auckland Nines in 2016 and 2017, as well as the World Club Challenge in 2018

Williamstown Football Club

Ground sponsor and community partner to enhance the contribution to the Hobson‘s Bay community through local sporting clubs, schools, community groups and charities

Tour of New Zealand

Downer sponsored the bi-annual cycling tour which takes place on both the North and South Islands, and aims to raise money for charitable organisations. Downer provided in-kind support to the event, offering our traffic management services free of charge. We also had 17 employees and customers take part in the tour, raising over $5,000 for the Bikes in Schools program

Strategic partnerships

AKL Paths – Downer and Auckland Council established a partnership in 2015 to focus on strategic commercial and social outcomes to help achieve the Auckland Long Term Plan and the Mayoral Vision for Auckland. Through this relationship, Downer has been developing a digital product that uses location intelligence coupled with Auckland Council’s data to help Aucklanders discover over 200 local walking and cycling paths across the region. Downer and Auckland Council were recognised in June by New Zealand Sport and Recreation with the Commercial Partnership Award for delivering the AKL Paths platform. AKL Paths improves the health and wellbeing of users by highlighting parks, streets and beaches across Auckland and providing useful information to users including a map, path duration and location of facilities such as playgrounds, libraries, public toilets, basketball courts and pools.

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Commercial partnerships

  • Waanyi Downer Joint Venture (WDJV) – A 50:50 partnership between Waanyi Enterprises, representing local Traditional Owners, and Downer. It is the first equitable 50:50 mining services joint venture formed between a corporation and a local Aboriginal community-based organisation. The WDJV has provided care and maintenance and rehabilitation services at the Century Mine near Mt Isa in Queensland since July 2016. In September 2018 the WDJV was awarded a life of mine contract by New Century Resources Ltd to provide services for the mining of the East Fault Block and South Block Resources.

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  • Bama Services – Downer has partnered with this leading Indigenous business on a range of initiatives since 2014 (for more information, refer to case study below).

Case study

Downer and Bama build a lasting legacy

Our future focus

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We will continue to review our sponsorships and partnerships.

In July 2019, Downer announced New Zealand’s first exclusive partnership with the Māori All Blacks, Black Ferns and Black Fern Sevens rugby union teams. This partnership will focus on building our brand and engaging our people and communities in our focus on diversity and inclusion.

We will also work with our commercial partners to increase the value of these business relationships. Following the successful delivery of the Cape York project, Downer will work with Bama Services on other initiatives to continue growing this partnership. We will also keep working with Waanyi Enterprises to build our partnerships and develop and deliver new training programs and initiatives to benefit the Waanyi people.

Downer realises the projects we deliver have a big impact on local communities. The nature and physical presence of many of our projects means they also have high visibility within their communities. We will continue to look for new ways to utilise these structures in a way that adds value to our communities. A prime example is the Indigenous artwork initiative that started in Moree, northern NSW, where Downer was part of a program for local Indigenous artists to create artworks to cover the NBN cabinets we installed in the region (for more information, refer to case study below).

A key focus area of last year’s report was to increase employee involvement in community activities and partnerships. We have implemented a number of initiatives to support that commitment. One element of New Zealand’s new wellbeing program is the introduction of Volunteer Leave for employees, which encourages our teams to participate in community engagement activities. New Zealand ran a pilot for this program in Auckland in June, when over 20 employees cleaned up the Puhinui Stream located near Downer’s Kerrs Road office. The team worked tirelessly to remove three truckloads of plastic and household waste from two kilometres of stream. Following the success of this pilot, Downer will officially launch the Volunteer Leave program across New Zealand in FY20.

Case study

Indigenous wrap artists

Emerging issues and market trends

Case study

Yarra Trams give $1 million in free advertising