Meet the team – Joel Johnston

Joel Johnston recently joined the team as Social Performance Advisor for the three projects in southern NSW.

Joel back in action in the saddle

Tell us a bit about your professional background.

I first worked in rugby union, focusing on participation, coach education, talent pathways and competition and club development. I worked for Queensland Rugby Union in several roles and locations throughout Queensland, and spent four years living in the UK consulting to clubs, counties and the Rugby Football Union.

I then shifted focus to engaging with communities and stakeholders to develop innovative and collaborative partnerships to support social performance outcomes such as social inclusion, economic participation, wellbeing, education, and employment.

These partnerships and associated strategies and programs aim to deliver outcomes across a range of pillars such as regional and remote communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, people living with disability, gender equity, people from culturally diverse backgrounds and the LGBTIQ+ community.

I have developed corporate social responsibility partnerships with companies such as Rio Tinto and  Glencore, and government agencies, as well as most recently as Head of Community Programs at the Johnathan Thurston Academy.

Why did you decide to join Inland Rail?

This was an opportunity to be part of the legacy of a once in a lifetime project with a diversity of people that would also benefit my personal and professional learning.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of working on this project?

The authenticity of staff to not only understand and listen to the communities they are working with, but a genuine interest to see them prosper and benefit from the project makes for a rewarding environment.

What can the community expect to see in coming months?

Over the coming months we will be supporting the completion of approval documents for several of the projects, identifying opportunities to implement Inland Rail Skills Academy programs with the various communities, maximise business capacity development with our supply chain team and support appointed contractors with the implementation of their Social Delivery Plan. I am especially looking forward to getting out and about in the communities as well when possible.

What do you like doing in your time off?

Watching all kinds of sport usually while socialising over a beer/wine/whiskey with family and friends. Spending time with my partner, five-year-old daughter Zala and one-year-old son Archie, and after a 20-year hiatus I have recently returned to horse riding, with a particular interest in camp drafting.


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