CAPE York’s vast reserves of bauxite are delivering pay dirt for some of the state’s most disadvantaged Aboriginal clans. Wik traditional owner Murray Korkatain is in the vanguard of a pipeline of training and jobs in bauxite mining.
He’s about to move into a Local Aboriginal Person traineeship as a mine operator, learning to work heavy equipment in an 18-month program. “I’ve had to overcome a lot of challenges, but I’m glad that I stuck at it because I’m excited to start my traineeship,” the Rio Tinto worker said yesterday.
“My motivation for work and to progress my career is to be a good role model for my children in Aurukun and others in the community. “My advice for others in Aurukun is to grab opportunities and give it a go. It’s not easy but it’s worth it.
Mining giant Rio Tinto, one of the nation’s largest private sector employers of indigenous people, is behind the push to get locals job-ready to break the cycle of welfare dependency and dysfunction in isolated towns.
Under the Kinections pre-employment program, they provide medical tests, literacy and numeracy classes, and driver training for licences. Today there are 174 people from the 12 traditional-owner groups in the western Cape York region working within Rio’s operations and based at Weipa.
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