Indigenous workers want a fair go on Curtis Island

Members of the Indigenous community in Gladstone say they have been overlooked when it comes to employment opportunities on Curtis Island.

Around 20 members of the Gladstone Alliance protested at the Bechtel office in Gladstone last week, The Observer reported.

Spokesman for the alliance Michael O'Shane said the purpose of the rally was to speak with Bechtel about increasing indigenous engagement in the industry.

"We want initiatives to be put in place to employ more traditional owners," he said.

"We're the traditional owners of the country," he said. "At the moment there's no difference between the mainstream and us.

"I know of less than 10 indigenous community members employed on the island out of a 7000 strong workforce."

General Manager of Bechtel Kevin Berg told the protestors he would meet with them for discussions this week.

A Bechtel spokesman said:

 "We believe we are the largest employer of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Australians in the region with more than 150 working on these projects."

"On top of this, there are many more currently under consideration by our recruitment team for open positions."

Last week, the Gidarjil Roadshow visited Bundaberg, helping local indigenous people to learn about employment in the state’s booming energy sector.

Tthe roadshow aims to develop an accurate database of the skills of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from this region.

Energy Skills Queensland has formed a partnership with the Gidarjil Development Corporation to conduct an Indigenous Skills Survey.

The aim of the project is to eventually have potential employees’ contact details on hand and to be able to focus training programs to specific groups and regions.

Gidarjil managing director Kerry Blackman said the database will help match job seekers with appropriate training and, in the longer term, help them find employment.

"The survey will provide indigenous people in the Wide Bay/Burnett more chance of being matched with viable, long-term jobs," he said.


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